AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
Marshae Jones is going through a manslaughter price for, quote, “intentionally inflicting the dying” of her fetus. The Alabama girl was five months pregnant whilst she was given right into a combat ultimate December with some other female out of doors a Dollar General shop close to Birmingham. That other lady fired a gun in self-defense, consistent with authorities, and the shot ended Jones’s being pregnant. Because Jones started the fight, a grand jury opted to indict her.
Attorney Mark White is representing Marshall Jones. He joins us now from Birmingham. Welcome to this system.
MARK WHITE: Thank you.
CORNISH: First, are you able to inform us a little bit more about the rate towards Ms. Jones? How does the indictment say she is at fault?
WHITE: The indictment charges underneath the Alabama crook code the crime of manslaughter, which consists of a maximum sentence of two decades. And the allegation, as it’s miles contained inside the indictment, is that she deliberately engaged in a physical altercation with this other man or woman with the intent of having that result in the death of her infant.
CORNISH: So essentially, it sounds like your argument is to mention that she did not intend for this to manifest and consequently need to be no longer prosecuted underneath this particular charge.
WHITE: The movement to push aside is based totally at the reality that the indictment is wrong and that you cannot have a contravention of the Alabama regulation underneath this authentic situation.
CORNISH: Now, only for a few contexts for human beings, underneath Alabama country laws, fees may be introduced against a suspect inside the demise of every other individual, which, mainly on this nation, does encompass a fetus. How does that play into the charges your patron is going through?
WHITE: Well, this particular charge is underneath what I name our conventional manslaughter rate. Also, whilst you appearance inside the provisions within the code that we reference, you may see that there is a specific exception that prohibits the mother from being charged with the loss of life of the unborn baby.
CORNISH: And again, Alabama criminal code states that manslaughter charges are warranted, even in deaths caused by recklessness. Essentially, the prosecutors are arguing this, in a manner, right? – moving into a fight even as pregnant.
WHITE: Well, it’s hard to realize what the prosecutors are arguing. There is a lot of misunderstanding approximately their theory of the case. But the manner that the indictment is framed and the exceptional example I realize to offer is if their idea of the case is accurate, then a pregnant lady who is going in a supermarket and creates what we call disorderly conduct – and if she slips and falls and, as a result, has a miscarriage, then under this concept, she will be charged with manslaughter for the lack of the child.
CORNISH: So you’re saying this opens the door for all varieties of things to be deemed as reckless and, consequently, a crook.
WHITE: I’m pronouncing it’s one of the scariest matters I’ve seen in 45 years.
CORNISH: For many humans, Marshae Jones is the image of her mug shot. Can you tell us how she’s doing proper now?
WHITE: Marshae Jones is – the phrase I use – fragile. If you have been to fulfill her, you would be speaking with a completely shy, timid, terrified young female. We have needed to take special preparations to make certain her protection is ensured. We had been fortunate that in this community – and if there may be a good thing that comes out of this – the support which have come from the network to help her and her family have a guide gadget.
This young girl misplaced the toddler she became wearing. She changed into a shot, almost mortally wounded. Her house rapidly after that had a fire. She lost her house. Because of her scientific situation and due to the length of her recuperation, her enterprise terminated her. She has been subjected to extra stress elements and extra trauma than conceivable. And so currently, we are seeking to prepare some thing assets she wishes to in which she will move forward in a fine and positive manner.