State Supreme Court Justice Penny M. Wolfgang told a young developmentally disabled mother Thursday she should have no more children and should not regain custody of her two daughters as the judge sentenced her for baby-shaking.
"Your IQ is too low to care for children. It is the opinion of this court that your children should not be returned to your custody at any time," Justice Wolfgang told Ada Livingston, 20, of Jefferson Avenue.
The judge placed her on probation for five years and ordered her to continue receiving family counseling from the Erie County Office for the Developmentally Disabled.
Justice Wolfgang said later that she could not recall handling a similar case in which she recommended from the bench that a mother be denied custody of her children.
"If it was up to me, she would not get custody, but I don't have that power," she said. "All I can do is make a recommendation that she does not get them back."
The final decision on custody of the children will be jointly made by Erie County Family Court and Erie County Child Protective Services, according to the district attorney's office.
Ms. Livingston, whose IQ is 64, was arrested on charges of first- and second-degree assault and child endangerment for injuring her 1-month-old daughter, Alicia Welch, on March 23 by shaking her. She pleaded guilty June 10 to attempted first-degree assault.
The child spent several days in Children's Hospital with a liver laceration, fractured ribs and multiple broken bones. However, Andrew C. LoTempio, Ms. Livingston's court-appointed attorney, said doctors have not determined if the baby suffered permanent brain damage.