No retrial against Hawaii mom in airplane child assault case

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HONOLULU (AP) — Federal prosecutors won't pursue a new trial against a Hawaii mother whose conviction for assaulting her 15-month-old daughter on a flight from Alaska was overturned.

According to court records, prosecutors told a judge Tuesday they want the case dismissed.

A jury convicted Samantha Watanabe of assault in 2015. Last year, U.S. District Court Judge Leslie Kobayashi ruled that the magistrate judge abused his discretion by allowing prosecutors to present lay opinion testimony about proper parental discipline. She ordered a new trial.

Prosecutors told jurors Watanabe cursed at her daughter, smacked her in the head and yanked out her hair. Defense attorneys argued the allegations were fabricated by judgmental passengers.

Before the conviction was overturned, Watanabe had already served a sentence of a month in jail and three months' home confinement.

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