Friday, April 4, 2014
ProPublica: Judge Throws Out Murder Charge in Mississippi Fetal Harm Case, by Nina Martin:
The ruling means that the woman whose drug use had her facing a possible life term can at most be charged with manslaughter in the death of her stillborn daughter.
A Mississippi judge has thrown out murder charges against a young woman in the 2006 death of her stillborn child, a significant setback for prosecutors in a controversial case that has been closely followed both by women's rights groups and those interested in establishing rights for the unborn.
Rennie Gibbs, who was 16 when she gave birth to her stillborn daughter Samiya, had been indicted for "depraved heart murder" after traces of a cocaine byproduct were found in the baby's blood. The charge — defined under Mississippi law as an act "eminently dangerous to others...regardless of human life" — carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. . . .