Appeal denied for mom in starvation case

An appeal of conviction for a Carson City mother who kept her children locked and starving for years in an apartment bathroom was denied by the Nevada Supreme Court on Thursday.

According to the order, Regina Rios filed an appeal contending her two consecutive prison sentences of 96 to 240 months and a sentence of 72 to 180 months are cruel and unusual punishment, that she was denied a pretrial petition for writ of habeas corpus and that she was improperly charged with the crime of false imprisonment to avoid arrest.

The order from justices Jim Hardesty, Ron Parraguirre and Nancy Saitta ruled that Rios' right to appeal was waived when she entered into the plea agreement with the state, thus making the writ argument moot. They ruled that regardless of its severity, a sentence that is within the statutory limits is not "cruel and unusual punishment unless the statute fixing punishment is unconstitutional or the sentence is so unreasonably disproportionate to the offense as to shock the conscience."

In November, grandmother Esther Rios was sentenced to a maximum of 70 years in prison. Regina Rios received up to 55 years in prison on two counts of permitting child abuse and one count of false imprisonment. Her husband, Tomas Granados, received 35 years on one count of permitting child abuse and one count of false imprisonment.

The trio was arrested after Regina Rios' 16-year-old daughter allegedly escaped from a bathroom in which she and her 12-year-old brother had been held for five years. The girl weighed 41 pounds and the boy weighed 31 when they were discovered by deputies on Jan. 19, 2006. The children are now in the custody of foster parents.

• Contact reporter F.T. Norton at or 881-1213.


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