[Marxism] Manslaughter Charge Dropped Against Alabama Woman Who Was Shot While Pregnant

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Jul 3 17:04:51 MDT 2019


NY Times, July 3, 2019
Manslaughter Charge Dropped Against Alabama Woman Who Was Shot While 
Pregnant
By Farah Stockman

Prosecutors in Alabama said on Wednesday that they were dropping a 
manslaughter charge against Marshae Jones over the death of the fetus 
she was carrying when she was shot in the belly.

The case stirred outrage across the country in late June after a grand 
jury indicted Ms. Jones, who was accused of starting a fight that 
resulted in the shooting. The state recognizes a fetus at any stage of 
development as a “person” for criminal homicide or assaults.

The same grand jury declined to charge the woman who fired the shot, 
Ebony Jemison, finding that she had fired in self-defense during an 
altercation with Ms. Jones on Dec. 4. The police have said that Ms. 
Jones, 28, who was five months pregnant, started the fight and failed to 
remove herself and her fetus from harm’s way.

“We are gratified the district attorney evaluated the matter and chose 
not to proceed with a case that was neither reasonable nor just,” the 
law firm representing Ms. Jones, White Arnold & Dowd, said in a statement.

Lynneice Washington, the district attorney for part of Jefferson County, 
said in a news conference, “After viewing the facts of this case and the 
applicable state law I have determined that it is not in the best 
interest of justice to pursue prosecution of Ms. Jones on the 
manslaughter charge for which she was indicted by the grand jury. 
Therefore, I am dismissing this case and no further legal action will be 
taken against Ms. Jones in this matter.”

She said the decision not to prosecute Ms. Jones was in no way a 
criticism of the grand jury. “The citizens took the evidence presented 
them by the Pleasant Grove Police Department and made what they believed 
to be a reasonable decision to indict Ms. Jones,” she said. “The members 
of the grand jury took to heart that the life of an unborn child was 
violently ended and believed someone should be held accountable. But in 
the interests of all concerned, we are not prosecuting the case.”

Ms. Washington, a Democrat, who became Alabama’s first black female 
district attorney when she was elected in 2016, had signaled earlier 
that she might drop the charges.

At the time, the police said Ms. Jones’s “involvement and culpability” 
would be presented to a grand jury to determine if she, too, should be 
charged.

“When a five-month pregnant woman initiates a fight and attacks another 
person, I believe some responsibility lies with her as to any injury to 
her unborn child,” Lt. Danny Reid of the Pleasant Grove Police 
Department said then. “That child is dependent on its mother to try to 
keep it from harm, and she shouldn’t seek out unnecessary physical 
altercations.”

Abortion rights activists, already up in arms over Alabama’s recent 
adoption of the most restrictive anti-abortion law in the country, 
assailed the indictment of Ms. Jones as a demonstration of the dangers 
of the “personhood” movement, which presses for laws like those in 
Alabama that give the rights of fetuses equal or greater weight than the 
rights of the women who carry them. An organization that supports 
abortion rights in Alabama, the Yellowhammer Fund, helped Ms. Jones post 
bail.

But the case provoked little outrage in Pleasant Grove, the city of 
10,000 people on the western edge of Birmingham where Ms. Jones was shot.

According to a law enforcement officer with direct knowledge of the 
investigation who spoke on the condition of anonymity, Ms. Jones and Ms. 
Jemison, 23, had been feuding over a man they both worked with. The 
officer said that Ms. Jones spotted Ms. Jemison in the parking lot of a 
Dollar General store in Pleasant Grove on Dec. 4 and started fighting 
with her.

Ms. Jones had hit Ms. Jemison several times and pinned her in her 
vehicle, the officer said, when Ms. Jemison reached for a gun and fired 
point blank into Ms. Jones’s stomach.

The uproar over the indictment of Ms. Jones is not the first time that 
the application of Alabama’s fetal rights laws has attracted criticism 
and concern.

Alabama has prosecuted hundreds of women for using controlled substances 
while they are pregnant, under a 2006 “chemical endangerment” law, 
according to an investigation by ProPublica and Al.com. Doctors have 
argued that such prosecutions discourage pregnant addicts from seeking 
the treatment that they and their fetuses need.




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