Russell for the defense!

I let him out of the trunk, didn't I?

I let him out of the trunk, didn't I?

Greenwich’s own, Attorney Phil Russell, has signed on for the defense of that 35 – year-old mother who left her infant baking in a Lexus SUV on Greenwich Avenue the other day. “She’s a great mom,” Russell says. “Everyone who knows Gina Baret knows she would never harm that lovely child. She went to use an ATM and had her eye on her baby constantly.” I like Phil, and wouldn’t doubt his version of events for an instant, but others more skeptical than I may wonder how, if the lady’s car was parked below Starbucks and the bank’s 100 yards up the street on the other side, she could watch Buster. And if they get past that one, they’re bound to wonder what she thought during the 15 minutes she spent at the ATM while first a foot patrolman, then an ambulance and then three squad cars all pulled up to her own car.

“That’s no problem,” Russell will no doubt argue. “With that kind of protection around her precious, darling little boy, she knew he was in safe hands.”

I’d go for the plea bargain, Phil.

17 Comments

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17 responses to “Russell for the defense!

  1. pulled up in OG

    How many nannies can you hire for the price of a Russell?

    • christopherfountain

      But Pulled up, if she doesn’t hire a Russell, she might lose her kid and then have no need for a nanny.

  2. Helsa Poppin

    Interesting case. If she really was out of sight of the car and gone for >15 minutes, that’s unconscionable (all the more so if it was a hot day).

    However, I think you should be able to leave your child in the car (weather and child’s clinginess permitting) for a very short period of time. Let’s say she found a spot right in front of the bank, dashed to the ATM, and was back in under a minute. Is that all right?

    My dilemma was always the dry cleaners. Get the infant (or worse, a toddler, say a sleeping one) out of the car, to take them into the store. Pay and collect dry cleaning, which is heavy. Do I carry the infant carrier/cranky toddler in one arm and one batch of dry cleaning with the rest, then return with baby to pick up the rest of the dry cleaning? Maybe taking three or more trips? That’s extremely awkward and requires quite a bit of arm strength, not to mention stepping very carefully to avoid tripping and sending the child flying. How about leave the kid in the cleaner’s store, carry the clothes to the car, then return for the child? That defeats the purpose of taking the kid out of the car in the first place, which is to be with him every second. I think it would have been better for all parties to park as close as possible to the cleaner’s front door, leave the child in the locked car, transact business rapidly and try to get out in under two minutes. I never did this, though, because I was afraid someone might happen along and accuse me of abandonment.

    • christopherfountain

      Helsa, my grandmother used to have all five of us climb up on the luggage rack of her VW Bus back in the early 60s and off we’d zoom around town, having a ball. She’d be hogtied and imprisoned for life if she tried that today (especially if there’s a law against driving while dead, come to think of it).

  3. pulled up in OG

    You would think this lawyer, more than most, would have learned to keep his mouth shut instead of spouting nonsensical lies.

  4. Jane

    Perhaps somebody should point out that Chase and Bank of America both have drive through ATMs in Greenwich. And there are additional outposts in Cos Cob, Riverside and Old Greenwich. No excuse.

  5. There are numerous drive-thru ATMs in Greenwich.
    DonutDelight has a drive-thru window.
    Commuter Cleaners does pickup & delivery.
    Peapod delivers groceries.

    What if someone loses control of their car and crashes into the one containing your sleeping baby? What if you get hit by a car, fall down or are somehow incapacitated while the sleeping baby is in the car?

    Waking a sleeping baby is painful, but leaving a sleeping baby in the car unattended/out of sight is just too potentially dangerous

    • christopherfountain

      Most of those scenarios, Betty, would seem only to ensure that the kid goes with you. What if you’re squashed by a truck while Baby LeRoy is sound asleep and safe in his car seat, instead of in a stroller in the path of a truck? Your time is up when your time is up.

  6. Chief Ridberg

    Chris, we don’t got no problem dealing with belligerent grannies these days.

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2009/06/10/national/a062214D44.DTL&tsp=1

  7. CRB

    I was paranoid leaving my 10 year old in the car today when I ran into a store to pick something up. Having a child is not easy. You can find a way to keep your child safe and get cash from the ATM. My Gram used to pull us around the streets on our sleds with her Subaru when I was a kid. That’s probably frowned upon nowadays too.

  8. Anonymous

    Chris, My dad use to drive us around pretty fast with the top down and all us kids sitting on the trunk with only our feet on the seat. Infact he would go down the Bronx River Parkway (Bet. Hartsdale and Scarsdale) and go fast over the 2 humps in the road. Ofcourse, those haven’t been there since the mid-sixties. Those were the days!!

  9. Anonymous

    My husband is one “Food” shop’s BEST customer and is treated as such. ANYthing we can do for you and your children, Sir, is our pleasure. Assistants follow him around the store as if he is Michelle in Harrods. All available staff carry his goods or children out to the car.
    They don’t know me well in the store. I rarely visit. I am the REAL mum unable to visit because I am so busy (on this site).
    One very quiet 8.30 morning in store, I needed to get a bagel and muffin for my 3 year-old to go to playgroup. I asked the staff whether one of the staff could stand by the car, while I ran in for a few minutes. Well, the abuse I got was unbelieveable.
    My husband made a complaint, shouting sexism and returns regularly, but I have not returned. ‘Stop and Shop’ staff are much nicer.
    What does a mother do when she has to get three minature sleeping children out of the car for the purchase of just two items?
    Also, can my 10 (going on 40) year old daughter babysit her siblings in a locked car during cool weather, whilst I am gone for 5 minutes to the ATM next to the car, or do I have to get them all out?
    Dilemmas are huge for moms.

  10. 2112

    What is reasonable? 3 minutes (yes) or 15 minutes (no). Like everything in this country/town, things are out of control. Having had this issue with 3 of my own kids over the last 18 years, I am comfortable that we used good judgement. Glad folks flagged it but Imho, the reaction on this blog is a bit one sided. Please — imagine it is one of you. When you get arrested and sued, you will be happy to have Phil or other good counsel on your side and you will be disgusted with how much you have to spend to defend yourself against ridiculous problem.

  11. cs

    you get them out of the car sleeping or not or you go home and run your errand later

  12. pulled up in OG

    Ridiculous problem, 2112?

    Kids seem to die in hot cars on a fairly regular basis – that’s the ridiculous problem.

    The only over-reaction I see here is hiring Russell.

  13. pulled up in OG

    Something rarely, if ever, heard of years ago, but 42 last year in the US. Average of 38 a year since ’98.

    FWIW, the rate is up 10-fold since the early ’90s, due to airbags and kids always being parked in back seats.

    51% – child “forgotten” by caregiver
    30% – child playing in unattended vehicle
    18% – child intentionally left in vehicle by adult
    1% – circumstances unknown

    76% are two years old or younger
    http://ggweather.com/heat/

    Drowning deaths are easily 10 times higher for children under 4, but at least there are no pools to worry brain-dead mothers gallivanting on Greenwich Ave.