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Mother accused of daughter's death in car crash unable to appear in court

Mother accused of daughter's death in...

INDIO, Calif. - A Rancho Mirage woman accused of killing her infant daughter was "physically unable" to appear in court Thursday, according to her attorney. John Dolan explained that his client, Kristen Leigh Lauer, 23, was still recovering from injuries in the crash.

Read: KESQ News Channel 3 & CBS Local 2 reported Monday that medical issues were likely to delay the arraignment

Lauer and Marcus Green, 52, are accused in the May 1, 2016, death of their 5-month-old daughter, Armani Green. The baby, who was not riding in a car seat, was ejected from a Porsche that struck a metal guardrail and crashed down an embankment about 200 feet off State Route 74.

The infant was thrown about 90 feet from the car and pronounced dead at the scene, and her parents were both seriously injured. Green, who was driving the car, has been in custody since last May on murder and child endangerment charges.


 
Lauer, who is out of custody and living at her father's home, was charged last Thursday with the same counts, and a $1 million warrant for her arrest remains active.
 
Dolan sought to have the arrest warrant recalled and delay his client's arraignment for at least two weeks, until she can be reevaluated by doctors for a potential court appearance.
 
Deputy District Attorney Samantha Paixao countered that allowing the defendant to appear ``when it's convenient'' would set an unfortunate precedent.

According to Dolan, continued medical problems stemming from the crash make it an ``impossibility'' for his client to come to court. Dolan said Lauer has been in a wheelchair since the crash, has undergone numerous surgeries for a variety of ailments and has several future surgeries planned.

"This is not for convenience,'' he said. "This is physical impossibility without the risk of paralysis or death.''
 
In court papers filed Wednesday, Dolan stated that Lauer requires round-the-clock care for various injuries, including a brain injury, broken bones, lung damage, herniated discs and spinal trauma.
 
"Ms. Lauer is barely able to walk and remains in severe pain," Dolan 
wrote.
 
Riverside County Superior Court Judge Dean Benjamini said Dolan's filings did not specify what danger his client risked by being transported to court, nor why an arraignment via video could not be arranged. 
 
The judge also questioned Dolan's contention that Lauer would not receive sufficient medical care in jail, saying that such county facilities do exist within the jail system.
 
"You're asking for something truly extraordinary, but you have not provided what I believe to be adequate information for me to make any sort of decision or ruling on,'' Benjamini told Dolan.
 
Paixao told the judge that Lauer has already been moved from several medical facilities both in the Coachella Valley and Sacramento, as well as to her father's home. And while Dolan has stated that his client is not a flight risk, her documented transportation to several different locations implies otherwise, the prosecutor argued.
 
Benjamini rescheduled the arraignment for Monday afternoon, denying Dolan's request for at least two weeks' delay.
 
The attorney called the judge's decision ``the most heartless treatment of somebody in this condition I've ever seen,'' prompting Benjamini to reiterate that Dolan had not provided sufficient information to warrant his 
request.

"Mr. Dolan, I take umbrage to your remarks,'' the judge said. "This is not about whether it's harsh or not harsh. Ms. Lauer has been charged with the murder of her 5-month-old child. She is looking at a life sentence. Although she has suffered in the accident, as well, nonetheless there are criminal proceedings afoot which are of the most serious nature that are possible.''

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