Detroit Mom Forced to Give Birth on Jail Floor After Arrest for Driving on Suspended License

Jailhouse video shows medical staff send the eight-months-pregnant woman back to her cell three times over a seven-hour period.

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screenshot/Local 4 news

A Detroit woman picked up for driving on a suspended license was forced to give birth on the jail-cell floor after Macomb County Jail staff refused to believe she was going into labor. Jailhouse surveillance video shows medical staff sending the woman, Jessica Preston, back to her jail cell three times over a seven-hour period.

Preston's incident is the latest in a string of medical incidents involving Macomb County Jail inmates asking for medical help and not receiving it," according to Detroit NBC affiliate Local 4 WDIV. "Jennifer Meyers died when a virus turned into sepsis in July 2013. She was serving a 30-day sentence for failure to pay child support. In June 2014, David Stojcevski died at the end of a brutal 17-day drug withdrawal. His 30-day sentence was for failure to pay traffic tickets."

For Preston, the delivery, a month ahead of her scheduled Caesarian section, produced a baby boy who was underweight but healthy. After a few days at the hospital, the baby went home with its father and Preston was sent back to jail for five days.

But Preston needn't have been put at risk of giving birth in jail in the first place. She was arrested for a minor offense—driving on a license that had been suspended for failure to pay a speeding ticket—and had a hearing date set for 14 days later. Hardly a dangerous criminal, the most that was at risk with letting the eight-months-pregnant Preston out on a reasonable bond was that she wouldn't show back up in court.

The judge, however, set Preston's cash bond at $10,000, citing Preston's outstanding warrants in other jurisdictions. When Preston couldn't pay, she was ordered to wait out the time until her court date in jail.

Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham told Local 4 that his medical staff had done things right given the circumstances. He blamed the baby coming fast and a lack of medical staff for any shortcomings. "Could we have more medical staff? Should we have a full-time doctor on staff 24 hours a day? Obviously, that is going to cost taxpayers more money to increase that kind of contract."

But even if they aren't doctors, two medical staff should, over the course of seven hours, have been able to get Preston to the hospital—an institution "about three minutes away" from the Macomb County Jail, according to Sheriff Wickersham.

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  1. The judge, however, set Preston’s cash bond at $10,000, citing Preston’s outstanding warrants in other jurisdictions. When Preston couldn’t pay, she was ordered to wait out the time until her court date in jail.

    This seems like it might be important. What were the other warrants for?

      1. Why is that important?

        *shrug* Just curious as to the judge’s justification of a 10K bond for a DLS as part of this story.

        fwiw, here’s a little more info:

        Why did Judge Suzanne Faunce give Preston a $10,000 bond and send her to jail for 14 days?

        The judge can’t comment, but the court administrator said the judge looked not only at the current charge but all of Preston’s previous court history. In the past, Preston had a record of drug abuse and outstanding warrants for failing to appear in court.

        The administrator said the judge felt it was in the baby’s and the mother’s best interests to be locked up and never imagined Preston wouldn’t be taken to a hospital if she went into labor behind bars.

        1. I blame Preston’s prior drug use for the judge’s lack of imagination.

        2. The administrator said the judge felt it was in the baby’s and the mother’s best interests to be locked up

          It was in the baby’s best interest to be locked up.

          W
          T
          F

          1. Again, without the details of the prior warrants, if she ran a pound of blow through her nose the last time, showed up in the ER and lost the previous fetus, and bailed on her court hearing, I can see how the judge might have a point.

            Not that women shouldn’t be able to snort a pound of coke, pregnant women shouldn’t be allowed to snort coke, or babies shouldn’t be exposed to cocaine, but somebody’s going to have to take care of the kid and people should show up for court hearings.

            1. if she ran a pound of blow through her nose the last time, showed up in the ER and lost the previous fetus

              That’s a pretty goddamn big if, but a valid point.

              I think Occam’s razor points to a more likely situation being that the judge just felt like locking a bitch up.

              1. In the comments from the link I posted (grain of salt):

                According to Mugshots dot com, when Ms. Preston was stopped by Warren P.D. not only did she have a suspended license, but five other law enforcement agencies had warrants for her arrest. Three of these warrants are drug related. One specifically states that it was for possession heroin. Most jails/courts don’t want to hold pregnant women if it’s at all possible to release them. The sensationalism of this incident is evidence as to why that is the case. However there are times when jail can be the safest place for a person (and their unborn baby). Those are almost always when a person has a severe substance abuse problems.

                1. However there are times when jail can be the safest place for a person (and their unborn baby).

                  Horseshit. If they were that concerned they could have put her under house arrest or something. All these fucking tyrants can think up is “jail”.

                  1. Apparently, they pulled her over for having a rosary hanging from the rearview. Obstructing the view.

                  2. Or at least taken her to the hospital when she said she was in labor. Better to be safe than sorry. It’s bad enough to give birth on a jail room floor but to give birth prematurely to a baby that was probably exposed to drugs is inexcusable.

              2. I think Occam’s razor points to a more likely situation being that the judge just felt like locking a bitch up.

                At which point, it’s a bit of a lose-lose-lose proposition for the judge. It would be nice to assume that a 5-warrant flight-risk would just show up after she had given birth and birds would sing and flowers would bloom. There’s every indication on both sides that this was an exceedingly unlikely scenario.

                I mean, hell, just out of the hospital after giving birth? I haven’t scanned through JAMA to confirm, but probably not the best idea to spend two straight weeks in a concrete cell where people with viruses are dying of sepsis.

                1. Hold yer horses here for a tad, folks!!!
                  I have personal inside knowledge here! As it happens, Jennifer Meyers has ALSO previously been busted for “abuse of a DANGEROUS medical device without proper physician supervision”, meaning a prescription, meaning for a cheap plastic flute! (If’n ye are not “in the know” about this one, look up “lung flute”, Google it, or use that as search-string at http://www.churchofSQRLS.com ).

                  We as freedom-loving Americans (think of “freedom from medical self-malpractice”) can NOT allow ANY leeway for dangerous criminals of the likes of Jennifer Meyers !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      2. They could have been for violent acts.

        1. “…. She was serving a 30-day sentence for failure to pay child support…. ”
          This jurisdiction locks people up for civil matters. They are in it for money making, so I have zero sympathy for the lawsuit that surely will happen based on this little gem. That and many court systems have judges that use poor judgment and actively collude with prosecutors to further the fine-paying potential of these defendants.

          Its like they say in civil law- Its easier to win a lawsuit then getting Defendants to pay up. No so in criminal matters, where jail is one short stroke away with the judge’s pen.

    1. DUI? Unpaid parking tickets? Does it really matter?

      1. Multiple homicide? Eating people? The level of the crime does sort of make a difference…

        1. Murderers don’t get a $10K bond. Regardless of what she was there for, it doesn’t excuse ignoring a major medical issue.

          1. The judge didn’t ignore a major medical issue or, rather, being 7 mos. pregnant isn’t in-and-of itself a major medical issue.

            1. 8 months pregnant. And they knew and ignored her. Pretty sure they’re breaking some laws there. I don’t like lawsuits but in this case one is warranted. I hope gets at least a million bucks out of it.

          2. They shouldn’t be ignoring a major medical issue even for Charles Manson.

            Though fortunately Charles Manson can’t have babies, and that’s nobody’s fault, not even the Romans’.

            1. “They” = prison authorities

            2. +1 Rosemary’s Baby

              And was it not the fault of the Romans, or of Roman Polanski’s?

              1. Ha ha.

                Anyway, medical neglect of prisoners is NOT OK even for those guilty of the most shocking crimes.

                I suppose at some point the care they need is so expensive it’s not in the budget, so they can’t provide what they don’t have the money for, but even in Detroit I doubt there would be a budget problem taking a woman to the hospital to have her baby.

                1. Anyway, medical neglect of prisoners is NOT OK even for those guilty of the most shocking crimes.

                  Agreed and I think that should be the focus rather than the specific case.

                  Jennifer Meyers died when a virus turned into sepsis in July 2013. She was serving a 30-day sentence for failure to pay child support.

                  (emp. mine)

                  This doesn’t actually happen and is a bit coincidental, like having pneumonia and passing out on 9/11. Not itself a de facto indication of neglect but, tots of circs, the jail sounds pretty damned negligent.

        2. Theft, grand larceny, child abuse, child neglect…

          I’m kinda astounded that CJ and others were like “Why would a warrant matter?”

          1. Multiple failures to appear…

    2. If there are outstanding arrest warrants from other jurisdictions, it would be standard procedure to hold her until its determined that the other jurisdictions either a) will be issuing extradition warrants, or b) aren’t interested in coming to get her. That holds pretty much regardless of what the outstanding warrants are for. I’ve seen prisoners sit in jails fighting extradition for far longer than the maximum penalty on the outstanding charge.

      BUT its not clear thats what she was in jail for, even though she absolutely should have been held in custody to resolve the outstanding warrants. Rather it seems the judge imposed a relatively high cash bond as opposed to personal recognizance or property/surety bonds. Had the latter option been available, bond could have been posted with $1000+ cash or someone staking her with the equity in their home or other real property. Very few people can scrounge up $10k in a short period of time, particularly those who have unpaid traffic tickets. Given the situation, a PR bond would be almost automatic.

      So the judge here essentially–and knowingly–sentenced her to a jail term before she’s even been tried and convicted, with the very real possibility of labor coming while shes imprisoned.

      So you’ve got a judge being a dick combined with the pathetic excuse for medical personal at the jail–who apparently can’t tell the difference between pregnancy and being overweight–and this is how you have babies being born on jail floors.

  2. *spoiler*

    The woman is white!

    The judge, however, set Preston’s cash bond at $10,000, citing Preston’s outstanding warrants in other jurisdictions. When Preston couldn’t pay, she was ordered to wait out the time until her court date in jail.

    Judge Scumbag.

    “Two (employees) were working that day,” Wickersham said. “They were on the phone with the doctor. The information at that time, the baby started to come, they took her off the cot, which is close to the wall, put her on the floor on a mattress and the baby was delivered.”

    “But we both know that she was there in the morning at 7, again at 11:30, again at 1 p.m.,” Local 4 Defender Kevin Dietz said. “She had blood on her leg, and still the baby wasn’t born until 2:45. The hospital is, what, two, three minutes away?”

    Pregnant woman with blood on her leg? Ah, no big whoop.

    1. I should have put the second two paragraphs in blockquotes. I have failed you all.

      1. We still love you though Crusty, warts and all.

    2. Pregnant woman with blood on her leg? Ah, no big whoop.

      A medical issue is a medical issue. However, I loathe the idea of a woman’s right to choose extending to jail time for crimes committed because she just happens to be, at the moment, pregnant.

      1. The bond was high, and as lafe’s above link points out after a short stay in a hospital after giving birth she had to finish her sentence. What was so important about her crime that she had to immediately be placed in jail for 14 days?

        1. As I said and both the judge and the article indicated. She wasn’t jailed solely for the crime. The outstanding warrants were pertinent in whatever decision was made.

          Equally, she was fine/healthy when the sentence was handed down without any implication that her pregnancy was any sort of factor.

          ENB, for all her faults, does a pretty decent job of pointing out that the Macomb County Jail is pretty consistently negligent and even, possibly, feloniously. You can certainly fault the judge for not remanding her to a different jail or not being more vocal about the jail in question, but not sending someone to jail for outstanding warrants is not exactly a ‘whatever’ proposition.

          1. but not sending someone to jail for outstanding warrants is not exactly a ‘whatever’ proposition.

            The completely random and arbitrary bond and fourteen day sentence were “whatever” propositions.

  3. Drive without your government permission slip like a thug, give birth prematurely on a concrete floor like a thug.

    1. +1 Thud life

  4. OT: I know, CNN is mostly “fake news”, but if true this is great news. Love or hate Trump, he at least seems to be against neocons.

    1. It’s spun in the article as being due to Trump’s thin skin. But if he had appointed him, the article would be about how Trump appointed a war mongering neocon in spite of his campaign rhetoric against the war.

      1. It’s all about the narrative: even when Trump makes a great decision, there must be some shaky, vindictive motive for it. If it was all about praise and criticism, Trump would’ve picked Bolton for Dep. SoS in a heartbeat.

    2. I wonder if Rand had something to do with that.

      1. Hopefully so. It’s funny how CNN still feel the urge to spin this to make him look incompetent even if it’s a good decision.

  5. By the way, great screenshot, Local 4. “Honey, look! Your hooha’s on the news!”

  6. OT: I’m sure they posted this only for the story…

    1. I’m not sure what you’re referring to.

    2. It’s certitty an issue of pubooblic interest.

      Breasts.

    3. Well, I for one thank them and you good sir.

  7. After a few days at the hospital, the baby went home with its father

    ugh. patriarchy

    1. Look, you can’t give the child to the mother, she gave birth to it on a floor. Clearly unfit.

    1. That was my thought as well.

      Why should I have interest in story local to Detroit?

      Reasonable minds want to know.

  8. I went before my city council when they were debating making smoking illegal in town.

    I asked each one of them point blank “Are you willing to lock a person in a cage if they don’t comply?”

    It backfired. Yes. Yes they are.

    I’m sure Detroit feels the same way about unpaid speeding tickets. It’s a debtor’s prison, but they don’t care.

    1. I asked each one of them point blank “Are you willing to lock a person in a cage if they don’t comply?”

      It backfired. Yes. Yes they are.

      Wait, I’ve seen this movie. You needed to close out your argument with “now imagine she’s a black rape victim“.

      1. I would have asked them if they wanted to curb stomp their mom for smoking. Because you know it will happen.

      2. You should have asked, “are you willing to kill a person if they don’t comply?” Because of the person doesn’t want to go into that cage, it’s deadly force that they’ll be using.

  9. So, there’s no policy change we’re looking for here–we’re just showing the bureaucracy as a bunch of cold automatons?

    It presumably isn’t official policy to leave women in labor to give birth on the jailhouse floor.

    We’re not saying that pregnant women shouldn’t be arrested, are we?

    Are we saying that people shouldn’t be arrested for driving on a suspended license?

    I guess we’re looking for accountability, but nothing like a change in policy, right?

    Libertarians are pretty much universally opposed to cruelly leaving women in labor to writhe around and give birth on the jailhouse floor–but then so is everyone else.

    Is there someone out there who supports leaving women to writhe around in labor on the jailhouse floor?

    No?

    Why are we talking about this?

    1. Is there someone out there who supports leaving women to writhe around in labor on the jailhouse floor?

      Somewhere.

      The Police of Vice and Virtue in Saudi Arabia prevented emergency services from entering a burning house to save the uncovered women inside because they were uncovered.

      I don’t doubt that they would do the same to medical personnel.

      1. So, I guess we’re left to make the connections ourselves?

        Okay, to me this looks like feminist victim porn with little relevance to any policy issue.

        Like an emotional spectacle with no apparent message.

        Here’s my contribution:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASqdgcJxFAw

    2. we’re just showing the bureaucracy as a bunch of cold automatons?

      Why not? A lot of people – incredibly – haven’t gotten the message.

    3. Would you rather see another article about Trump, Ken? Because they can do that. They can do that ALL DAY LONG.

    4. I guess we’re looking for accountability, but nothing like a change in policy, right?

      The hiring policy of the jailhouse should definitely be changed.

      1. “Could we have more medical staff? Should we have a full-time doctor on staff 24 hours a day? Obviously, that is going to cost taxpayers more money to increase that kind of contract.”

        Their current hiring policy is whoever’s cheapest because who gives a crap about the safety and comfort of a bunch of thugs and lowlifes? Never mind that A) many of them are merely alleged thugs and criminals awaiting a court finding as to whether or not they are indeed criminals, and 2) there’s a custodial duty to take care of the people you’re charged with taking care of and iii) “whoever’s cheapest” is more likely to be an amateur sadist looking to turn pro. Why settle for the mere satisfaction of a job well-done when you beat the crap out of somebody when you can get all the satisfaction and a paycheck to boot?

        1. That “cheap” hire will likely reel in millions in pension money. Gee, I wonder why they can’t hire more staff.

  10. RE: Detroit Mom Forced to Give Birth on Jail Floor After Arrest for Driving on Suspended License
    Jailhouse video shows medical staff send the eight-months-pregnant woman back to her cell three times over a seven-hour period.

    There’s a difference between living in Detroit and living in jail?
    Would’ve fooled me.

    1. There’s a difference between living in Detroit and living in jail?
      Would’ve fooled me.

      I sentence you to house arrest… in Detroit!

  11. Rock n roll hoochie coo

    http://nbc4i.com/2017/02/10/ha…..ta-flight/

    1. A federal air marshal quoted in court records says Derringer told him that he flies as many as 50 times per year with the gun in his carry-on bag, and has never had a problem.

      (facepalm) This is why you don’t talk to cops without a lawyer present.

      1. Given the TSA’s success right, it wouldn’t surprise me if this were true.

    2. Huh. With a name like Derringer, I’d have never expected him to carry a gun.

        1. If he can fit a BAR into a carryon, he’s got some ninja skills.

  12. Hmmm, a medical angle, a police abuse angle, a failure of bureaucracy angle…guess Detroit isn’t “too local.”

  13. Get yo’ babies out the street off the cell floor!

  14. Macomb County Sheriff […] blamed the baby coming fast

    Should have busted the little hellion for speeding.

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