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Monday, October 05, 2015

Ind. Courts - "Purvi Patel appeals controversial trial court conviction for feticide, child neglect" [Updated]

On Friday, Amy Gastelum of PRI's The World reported:

Today, Patel filed an appeal of that conviction with the Indiana Court of Appeals. She's now represented pro-bono by Stanford Law professor Lawrence Marshall and Indiana University law professor Joel Schumm. Marshall's representation, in particular, shows the precedent-setting importance of her case. Marshall previously founded the Center for Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University.

“What I generally gravitate toward are cases where it seems like an intense passion has interfered with dispassionate interpretation and application of the law,” Marshall told the South Bend Tribune in April. “It struck me that this case may be a textbook example of that phenomenon.”

The text of their appeal is not yet available. However, national advocacy organizations have authored two amicus briefs in support of the appeal. The first, by National Advocates for Pregnant Women and signed by several reproductive rights groups, states: "Allowing the judicial expansion of Indiana law to prosecute women in relation to their own pregnancies endangers public health and the civil rights of all people who are or may become pregnant." * * *

The National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum and the Center on Reproductive Rights at the UC Berkeley School of Law make a more culturally-based argument against Patel's conviction, pointing to a disconnect between women of color or immigrant women and the healthcare system. Prosecutors had argued that Patel illegally sought to terminate her own pregnancy with abortificants ordered online. She did not seek prenatal care and apparently attempted to keep her pregnancy a secret from her Indian immigrant family.

"The decision to self-administer medication for abortion may stem from a distrust of the conventional US healthcare system, which has a long history of abuses targeting people of color, immigrants, and indigent people," the brief argues.

The ILB has had three earlier posts on this case:
Ind. Decisions - "The case of Purvi Patel: Should a pregnant woman be charged with feticide?"

Jill Disis of the Indianapolis Star takes an excellent, in-depth look today at the facts and issues behind the St. Joseph trial court decision that is now being appealed. The subhead:"A woman’s conviction and 20-year sentence under Indiana’s feticide law...

Posted in The Indiana Law Blog on May 3, 2015 01:58 PM

Ind. Decisions - Purvi Patel feticide and felony neglect convictions to be appealed

On April 2nd the ILB had a post with a brief quote from a NYT Magazine feature story by Emily Bazelon: The prosecution of Purvi Patel began in sorrow and ended in more sadness this week. Patel, a 33-year-old...

Posted in The Indiana Law Blog on April 30, 2015 03:02 PM

Ind. Courts - Another big Indiana story coming up Sunday in NYT Magazine

Emily Bazelon has a feature in the upcoming Sunday NYT Magazine, titled "Purvi Patel Could Be Just the Beginning." Some quotes:The prosecution of Purvi Patel began in sorrow and ended in more sadness this week. Patel, a 33-year-old woman who...

Posted in The Indiana Law Blog on April 2, 2015 09:43 AM
A long, April 30th story by Christian Sheckler in the South Bend Tribune reported:

As a Granger woman fights to overturn her conviction and 20-year prison sentence in a highly publicized child neglect and feticide case, she will have cost-free help from two prominent experts in criminal appeals.

Stanford University law professor Lawrence Marshall and Indiana University law professor Joel Schumm have filed to represent Purvi Patel before the Indiana Court of Appeals, and both are offering their services pro bono, or for free.

Before he began teaching at Stanford, Marshall founded the Center for Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University, while Schumm founded an appellate clinic at the IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law.

Both lawyers said the case raised many important legal questions, and Marshall added that he was troubled by how Indiana’s feticide law was applied in the case.

“There are issues here, there are errors here that were committed, that in our view justify and compel reversal,” Marshall said. “We will be hopefully showing the appellate court that errors were committed in both interpreting the law and how facts were allowed to be proven.”

Patel was convicted of child neglect and feticide after, authorities said, she illegally used drugs to try to induce her own abortion, then failed to get medical help for her infant son after he was born alive. A judge handed down a 20-year sentence in March. Police found Patel’s baby July 14, 2013, in a Dumpster behind Moe’s Southwest Grill in Mishawaka. * * *

[Co-counsel] Schumm, who said he has worked on about 150 appeals since 2001, many of them on a pro bono basis, said he was interested in raising important legal arguments on Patel’s behalf, but was not motivated by political outrage.

“I’m not taking this case with a political agenda in mind at all,” he said. “I’m taking it with the view that she’s been convicted of a serious crime and she, like everyone else, deserves a defense of those convictions, a zealous defense.”

The St. Joseph Superior Court has 90 days to provide Patel’s lawyers with transcripts of her trial. The lawyers would then have 30 days, with a possible 30-day extension, to file a brief of their case with the Court of Appeals. At that point, the court could hear oral arguments before ruling.

ILB: Here is the appellant's brief in Patel v. State, filed Oct. 2, 2015. [Link updated 10-6-15 to version including p. 50 (p. 61 of pdf), signature page]

Posted by Marcia Oddi on October 5, 2015 08:45 AM
Posted to Indiana Courts