Concealment of Birth or Death

Author:Jeffrey Lehman, Shirelle Phelps

Page 69

The crime of refusing to disclose the birth or death of a newborn child.

The offense is entirely statutory in nature, and state laws differ on its elements. In some jurisdictions the essence of the offense is the deliberate concealment of the birth; in others it is the willful concealment of the death. Intent to conceal the birth or death must be proven in order to obtain a conviction.

The concealment must be accomplished in such a manner as to prevent ascertainment of whether the child was stillborn or was born alive and died as a result of a HOMICIDE. There is no requirement that every other person be deprived of the knowledge of the birth or death of the child. The crime is still actionable when another person participates in withholding the information. Failure to provide notice of the birth of an infant who later dies does not constitute a concealment, however.

Evidence of stillbirth has been held to entitle an...

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