No prosecution for Marshae Jones, the Alabama woman who was shot, lost fetus | TribLIVE.com
U.S./World

No prosecution for Marshae Jones, the Alabama woman who was shot, lost fetus

Associated Press
1371002_web1_1371002-59edcbb8d5854813aaa760d325c69787
Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office
Lawyers defending Marshae Jones, who was arrested last week after a grand jury issued an indictment saying she intentionally caused the death of her fetus by initiating a fight while five-months pregnant, said Monday, July 1, 2019, the charges are ‘completely unreasonable and unjust’ and should be dismissed.

BESSEMER, Ala. — An Alabama district attorney said Wednesday she is dropping the manslaughter charge against a woman who lost her fetus when she was shot during a fight.

Marshae Jones was arrested last week after a grand jury concluded she intentionally caused the death of her fetus by initiating a fight, knowing she was pregnant.

Jones was five months pregnant when 23-year-old Ebony Jemison shot her in the stomach during a December argument over the fetus’ father, authorities said.

Jemison was initially charged with manslaughter, but a Jefferson County grand jury declined to indict her after police said an investigation determined Jones started the fight, and Jemison ultimately fired in self-defense. Jones, 28, was indicted by the same grand jury and arrested.

But Jefferson County Bessemer Cutoff District Attorney Lynneice O. Washington said Wednesday that she would not pursue the case.

“After reviewing 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,” Washington said, flanked by her chief assistant and local church leaders. “There are no winners, only losers, in this sad ordeal.”

The prosecutor did not take questions or explain the process that led to grand jurors returning the indictment to begin with.

Lawyers representing Jones said they were pleased with Washington’s decision and urged Jones’ supporters to direct their energy to “ensuring that what happened to Marshae won’t ever happen again.”

Jones’ lawyers filed a motion to dismiss Monday morning, arguing that in issuing the charges, the state used a “flawed and twisted rationale” that “ignores the law and ignores reason.”

The idea that Jones intentionally caused the death of her fetus by initiating the fight is a “tortured,” ”irrational” theory which “defies the most basic logic and analysis,” the filing asserts.

Alabama is one of dozens of states that have fetal homicide laws allowing criminal charges when fetuses are killed in violent acts, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Jones’ arrest sparked outrage across the country, with advocates for women’s rights calling it another attempt to charge women for crimes related to their pregnancies. Legal scholars said the arrest raised questions about what other scenarios — such as driving a car or swimming in a pool — could constitute putting a fetus in danger.

Lynn Paltrow, executive director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women, said she’s pleased to see the case dismissed but noted it would be a mistake to see it as an outlier.

“We hope there are no more cases like this in the future, but our experience in 40 years of cases suggests that we will see many more such misuses of the law in the name of fetal personhood in the future,” Paltrow said.

The case arose after Alabama passed the nation’s most hardline anti-abortion legislation. The new law makes performing an abortion at any stage of pregnancy a felony punishable by 10 to 99 years or life in prison for the provider. The law makes no exception for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest. The only exception would be when the woman’s health is at serious risk

Categories: News | World
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.