outdoor campus parking lot, officials said.
Deputy District Atty. Matt Murphy said he had to make the decision
based on case law.
"Despite our feelings, the law is very clear in such cases," he
said. "In cases where an otherwise responsible parent with no history
of abuse or negligence accidentally leaves a child in a car and we
cannot show conscious disregard for the safety of the child, the law
does not provide for criminal prosecution."
There are several legal precedents that show charges are not
warranted in such cases unless the parent knows his or her child is
in the car and then intentionally leaves the child to die, Murphy
"That was not the case here," he said.
Murphy cited an identical case that came out of Nevada this year
where a high school teacher drove his 7-month-old to work and forgot
all about the baby, who died. No charges were filed because
stupidity, forgetfulness or even carelessness do not amount to
criminal intent, he said.
Warschauer was not available for comment, but his attorney,
Jennifer Keller, said she is "greatly relieved" by the district
attorney's decision not to file charges.
"The law does not support criminal liability on these facts," she
said. "And in any event, no greater pain could ever be inflicted on
this loving father than having to live with the loss of his beloved
Now the Warschauers "can get on with the grieving process and with
helping educate other parents to prevent such tragedies in the
future," Keller said.
Warschauer and his wife reportedly had Mikey after trying to have
a baby for several years and taking fertility treatments. The
professor and his wife, who were doting parents and did not have any
history of neglect or abuse, took turns dropping off their son at day
care, Murphy said.
On the morning of the incident, Warschauer fed his son and put him
in the car seat intending to drop him off at the day care center, he
said. The professor reached the T-intersection he usually drove by.
If he went one way, he would go to the day care center and if he went
the other way, he would go to his office.
Murphy said instead of going to the day care center, Warschauer
went straight to the office and forgot all about Mikey.
"A couple of hours later, he stepped out for a sandwich," he said.
"And he still didn't realize he had left his son in the car."
It hit Warschauer only two hours after that, when he saw an
ambulance and people trying unsuccessfully to resuscitate his dead
"He was very distraught, but cooperated with police," Murphy said,
adding that the Irvine Police Department as well as the UC Irvine
campus police did a "thorough and professional investigation."
"Although the law was clear on this, it was a tough decision
emotionally," Murphy said. "What happened to the boy was tragic."
* DEEPA BHARATH covers public safety and courts. She may be
reached at (949) 574-4226 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.