Appeals court upholds Hastings woman's child abuse sentence

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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - Rejecting her argument that her daughter ingested methamphetamine by accident, the Nebraska court of appeals upheld a long prison sentence for child abuse against a Hastings woman.

Brittany Hatch, 24, was sentenced in August 2017, to 19 years in prison for felony child abuse.

Court records indicate that in November 2016, police found a baby girl unresponsive in Hatch's residence. Doctor's later found bruises, cuts inside the baby's mouth and burns on her feet. They also found a large quality of methamphetamine in the baby's urine.

Hatch's attorney appealed the sentence, arguing the difference between the words "ingested" and "injected" in a brief filed with the court. They argued that Hatch's prison sentence was too long because the baby had swallowed the meth by accident, and not because Hatch had deliberately injected the baby with meth.

They further argued that Hatch should have been placed on probation for being a neglectful mother. And they also claimed that Hatch recognized that she was not fit to care for the baby because she was given up for adoption.

Hatch's partner at the time, John Brown, 31, was convicted of felony child abuse in 2017 and was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

He is also fighting his sentence in the court of appeals. That case is pending.

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