When the Womb is a Crime Scene

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“A woman can be charged with chemical endangerment from the earliest weeks of pregnancy, even if her baby is born perfectly healthy, even if her goal was to protect her baby from greater harm. The penalties are exceptionally stiff: one to 10 years in prison if her baby suffers no ill effects, 10 to 20 years if her baby shows signs of exposure or harm and 10 to 99 years if her baby dies.”

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AL Teen Chokes to Death, Suffers Cardiac Arrest at Hands of Police

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama — A Huntsville teen who died after being arrested by Huntsville police in a drug sting suffered broken ribs, had a flashlight shoved in his mouth and suffered cardiac arrest while officers sat on him, a federal lawsuit alleges.

The 17-year-old choked, began vomiting and lost consciousness while handcuffed but officers refused to render aid, according to the lawsuit filed by Nancy Smith, the teen’s mother. Police told paramedics they thought the teen had overdosed, but the lawsuit said no signs of an overdose have been found.

The officers, who had sent an informer to buy drugs from the teen, held the teen down and inserted two pens and the butt of a flashlight into his mouth searching for contraband. They didn’t find any. The boy could not breathe and had turned blue by the time paramedics arrived, according to the complaint.

He died on June 18, 2013, five days after being transported to Huntsville Hospital.