Police carry out Noah Desmond’s body
In June 2007, Lake Stevens Police were called to a residence on Lake Drive where a four month old boy, Noah, was not breathing. After the police investigation, Noah’s mother, Bonnie (Desmond) Peterson, who was 19 years old at the time, was arrested on manslaughter charges.
Peterson was arrested and placed in Snohomish County Jail.
The investigation found that Peterson had taped a pacifier to the infant’s mouth, fed him peanut butter and tied him up with pajamas, according to court documents.
Snohomish County Prosecutors dropped the case when the exact cause of death could not be determined.
Peterson filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Arlington and Lake Stevens Police and county prosecutors in May stating that her civil rights were violated and that police did not have cause to arrest her or put her in jail.
Complaints against both Snohomish County and prosecutors were dismissed, according to court records.
As long as prosecutors are acting in good faith, they are immune from lawsuits against criminal defendants.
The case was settled for $2,000 on March 18 and was formalized in U.S. District Court in Seattle.
“We could have easily defended this thing all the way through,” Attorney Richard Jolley, council for the Lake Stevens and Arlington police departments said. “We would have won, I’m absolutely certain of that. This was an extremely strong case and $2,000 in the grand scheme of things, is such a nuisance value judgment. It really sent the message that this lawsuit was a waste of time.”
The Lake Stevens Police Department recognized that they had done their job.
“Our detectives conducted a complete and thorough investigation into the tragic death of the infant. The actions they took followed protocol and were appropriate,” Lake Stevens Police Chief Randy Celori said. “I was very confident we would have had a favorable outcome if this proceeded to a trial. I agree with our lawyer Mr. Jolley, that the plaintiff was very fortunate to avoid prosecution and conviction for contributing to the death of her baby.”
The cause of the infant’s death was never determined.