Criminal Justice

Alabama Prosecutor Will Drop Charges Against Marshae Jones for Miscarrying After She Was Shot

Sanity prevails (for now) in Alabama case that sparked national outrage.

|

An Alabama district attorney has declined to pursue the prosecution of Marshae Jones, an Alabama resident who was shot in the stomach while pregnant and wound up suffering a miscarriage.

News of the case sparked national outrage last week after a grand jury indicted Jones for manslaughter but did not indict the woman who shot her. Jones was taken into custody last Wednesday and held on a $50,000 bond.

According to local law enforcement, Jones was guilty of causing her fetus' death since she allegedly started the altercation with another woman that ultimately led to the injury. The shooter claimed she fired a shot into Jones' stomach in self-defense.

Without more details about the case, it's impossible to say whether the shooter should have been held liable. But holding Jones herself liable for manslaughter was clearly a miscarriage of justice, her lawyer argued, calling the state's rationale "flawed and twisted."

Prosecuting Jones for picking a fight that led to her being shot "defies even the most basic logic and analysis," argued a motion to dismiss the indictment against Jones on the grounds that it was charged under "a new theory of criminal liability that does not lawfully exist." 

On Wednesday, Jefferson County Bessemer Cutoff District Attorney Lynneice O. Washington announced that she would decline to prosecute the case.

NEXT: Indiana Is Still Arguing That It's Constitutional To Seize Your Car for Driving 5 MPH Over the Speed Limit

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. News of the case sparked national outrage last week after a grand jury indicted Jones for manslaughter but did not indict the woman who shot her.

    Would it have been the same grand jury?

  2. Huh. A pregnant woman starting a fight, and people are outraged because she was arrested for causing the death of her baby? I bet those same people would demand her arrest if she was smoking a cigarette while pregnant.

    1. Only theocrats would arrest her in either case.

      1. The linked article said the prosecutor was “flanked by her chief assistant and local church leaders” when she announced the dropping of the charges. Are these the theocrats you were referring to?

    2. No, we would not. I – and I believe msot feminists – are strongly opposed to criminalizing women in any way for any outcomes of their own pregnancies, regardless of what actions led to those outcomes, or generally, for any actions that are not – or, as we libertarians should argue, should not be – criminalized if performed by non-pregnant people. Certain actions, such as smoking during pregnancy may be unethical. But criminalizing women for the actual or potential outcomes of their own pregnancies goes against bodily autonomy and will definitely lead to terrible things. The worst possible restrictions on women´s individual rights could be justified by the need to protect the baaabieees from their own “irresponsible” mothers.

  3. The prosecutor is a tad vague on her reasoning:

    “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.”

    Maybe the prosecutor disagrees with the grand jury about who started the fight, though obviously the statement is remarkably vague.

    1. Or, maybe we should just take the word of the DA that she believed “..that it is not in the best interest of justice to pursue prosecution of Ms. Jones,…”. And maybe we should just take the word of the members of the grand jury that the woman who pulled a gun on her and fired a “warning shot” at her was in fear of her life from an unarmed pregnant woman. In either case, I wasn’t there and even if I was I’m not sure if I could have known who acted mere irresponsibly.

      Either way, what what this ruling does is gives the benefit of doubt to two women who seem to have exceedingly small levels of impulse control. 🙂

      1. “Either way, what what this ruling does is gives the benefit of doubt to two women who seem to have exceedingly small levels of impulse control.”

        That’s a possible explanation of the charges being dropped, but again it depends on the specific facts of the encounter, about which the media seems less than fully curious. If I were as interested as the media in publicizing the case and getting outraged, I’d research the facts more, but as it is I have no idea what specifically happened.

        In the media accounts, the relevant facts seem to be (a) guns, (b) mother charged with fetal homicide, (c) “advocates of women’s rights” are outraged. I’m not going to wait for the media to get into more detail, because they seem content with their narrative.

        I don’t know about Alabama law or whether the grand jury was right, though the Montgomery Advertiser suggested that the law doesn’t allow the charge. Apart from this, I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for detailed analysis.

        1. As I have said elsewhere on this subject, “I strongly suggest that you go fuck yourself and stop trying to pretend you have some kind of self righteous monopoly on compassion and simple human decency when you are suggesting that a young woman should be sentenced to a long prison term for a lapse in judgment.”

          This case is an an illustration of prosecutorial discretion, in one instance a grand jury declined to return a true bill on Ebony Jemison for shooting Ebony Jemison and in another Jefferson County Bessemer Cutoff District Attorney Lynneice O. Washington declined to pursue the case against Marshae Jones.

          Neither of these individuals seems to have been demonstrated to pose a threat to the safety and security of the public at large, in spite of Marshae’s jealous outbursts and Ebony’s tendency to “fire warnings shots” when she’s confronted with jealous outbursts.

          1. “you are suggesting that a young woman should be sentenced to a long prison term for a lapse in judgment”

            I am?

            1. (a) I don’t know if she had a lapse in judgment or not, I just have the allegations of a grand jury.

              (b) I don’t know if committing fetal homicide on one’s own baby is a crime in Alabama.

              (c) In another context, we can discuss what laws ought to be passed for a mother who acts so that her unborn baby dies, and what if any punishment should apply. But since I don’t know if this particular woman behaved in that way, or whether the actually existing law made her alleged acts criminal, such a discussion would be on a fairly hypothetical level.

              I can say, though, that the media wants to whip up the outrage without regard to the specifics of the facts or the law. All the media seems to know is (formerly) pregnant woman good, prosecution bad. I don’t propose to make the opposite error and, presume the woman’s guilt.

              1. Commiting fetal homicide on one´s own baby – directly or indirectly (throught the bullshit “felony homicide” crap or whatever) should not be a crime anywhere.

                1. Not under any circumstances whatsoever?

      2. “…two women who seem to have exceedingly small levels of impulse control.”

        Which likely explains the pregnancy too.

  4. Why do you refuse to include the fact that she was shot in self-defense in the headline?

    1. My response follows.

  5. Possibly because, as I noted in my post above, there are questions about whether Marshae Jones realized that when she attacked Ebony Jemison that Ebony was going to pull a gun on her and fire a “warning shot”.

    1. Not that I agree with the charges, but the argument that a lethal response isn’t a foreseeable consequence of full on attacking someone is ridiculous, and that it was a gun and not a knife, blunt object, or plain old fists just landing in the wrong spot, is immaterial.

      1. Here’s the point, no, I cannot see any scenario where a pregnant woman getting into a bitch slap with her babydaddies girlfriend would have would have reasonably expected to have said girlfriend pulling a gun on her and firing a “warning shot” at her. Furthermore, I cannot see why anyone would think that such a woman would have realized that by getting into such an altercation she was intentionally causing the death of her unborn child.

        1. “All should be forgiven because the assailant was unaware that there would be consequences”

        2. If she was shot over a bitch slap then it shouldn’t be self-defense. There’s no legitimate fear of death there to justify the use of deadly force. But that’s a question of fact.

      2. And, actually, bitch slap fights occur every day without either of the participants having any expectation that the other will escalate the conflict beyond “mixing it up.”

        1. Not really sure what any of that has to do with self defense law.

        2. And every day, fights result in a weapon being pulled that could cause death. Smashing heads on the concrete is potentially fatal too. You’re basically saying that a weapon being pulled in a fight isn’t a reasonable possibility, that’s stupid, of course you have to assume death is reasonable consequence of attacking someone. But I already said I disagreed with the fetus murder charge.

          1. Whether death is a “reasonable possibility” in a dispute must surely depend on the prevailing standards of behavior in that community.

      3. “Bitch slap fights” often result in one or both women falling – and that can be fatal to the baby, too.

  6. Isn’t that what they used to call a back alley abortion? It’s only manslaughter because it wasn’t vacuumed out. Maybe just charge the shooter with practicing medicine without a licence.

  7. I’d say that this qualifies as a confederacy of dunces, but I know that “confederacy” is now a taboo word

  8. “miscarriage of justice”

    Well that’s just poor taste.

  9. Are you guys more mad that a black person escaped prison time or that fetal personhood wasn’t given priority over actual personhood in US law? Are there any other frivolously cruel considerations coming into play, or does that about cover it?

    1. Both the shooter and the pregnant woman are black. What’s the woke response when your narrative fails so badly?

      1. Don’t charge a pregnant woman who got shot with murder?

        1. You mentioned race, what’s the relevance?

  10. How can it clearly be a miscarriage of justice if the facts of whether the shooting was legitimate self defense are not clear? If you attack someone to the point where it is legally permissible for them to shoot you, then you absolutely should be held accountable for the consequences of the shooting and loss of an unborn baby. That’s a life that was ended because of your actions.

    1. A fetal life. Women should not be held responsible for any outcome of their own pregnancies, regardless of how it happened. Anything else will inevitably lead to investigation of miscarriages and to oppression of pregnant women/women of childbearing age/all women.

  11. Google is now paying $17000 to $22000 per month for working online from home. I have joined this job 2 months ago and i have earned $20544 in my first month from this job. I can say my life is changed-completely for the better! Check it out whaat i do…..

    click here ======►► http://Geosalary.com

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.