The Tennessee State Supreme Court heard arguments today in the case of a Bartlett father charged after leaving his child in a hot car to die.
It's an emotional case. Steve McKim doesn't want to relive the death of his child during a trial, but the District Attorney said "no way" to essentially giving Steven McKim probation.
It was standing room only as students, judges, lawyers and family members packed the civil courthouse to see the Tennessee Supreme Court in action.
The question: whether or not Stephen McKim should have been granted pre-trial diversion, which essentially would allow him to avoid a trial and serve probation.
"Any person who has been a parent has had the opportunity to make a mistake with their child. Fortunately, they are not always fatal. 19:48:45 This happened to be an accident that ended up being fatal," said McKim attorney Mark McDaniel.
McKim a youth minister, forgot his 8-month-old daughter Mia in his car on a hot day in 2004 and she died. McKim is charged with criminally negligent homicide.
The state says that, because of the nature of the case, McKim should face trial and possible jail time.
"It's my job to argue that the D.A did not abuse his discretion in denying pretrial diversion, that's our position," said Brian Johnson, with the State Attorney General's office.
One argument made by Johnson is that going to trial and a possible sentence would serve as a deterrent to McKim and other parents accused of crimes where a child dies.
But McKim's attorney claimed jail time can't keep people from making tragic mistakes. "I don't believe you can deter an accident. An accident is an accident. I don't believe there is anything you can do to deter someone from an accident," he said.
It's now up to the Supreme Court to decide if they want to intervene on McKim's behalf or send him to trial to face a jury of this peers.
The Justices will issue a written ruling in the case. There are many possible remedies in this case, ranging from dismissing the appeal, which would send the case to trial to granting McKim diversion and anything in between.