United States v. Flute

In 2016, for the first time ever, the feds charge a woman with manslaughter for prenatal negligence resulting in the death of a child after birth. As alleged, Agency Village, S.D. woman took triple the dose of a prescribed sedative, snorted hydrocodone, and possibly snorted cocaine shortly before giving birth. Her baby dies four hours after birth from the drugs. Eighth Circuit: That is indeed manslaughter. Judge Colloton, dissenting: The law’s text must be read against the common law definition of manslaughter, which has never allowed prosecution of a mother for prenatal acts that harm a child born alive.

Tags: 2019, Eighth Circuit, Judge Colloton, Negligence, Statutory Interpretation

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