Oral Argument Friday April 7 on Maryland Cruz Case

April 06, 2006

The Court of Appeals will consider tomorrow the opinion of more than 50 national medical, public health, child welfare, and drug treatment experts that prosecution of addicted mothers is counterproductive to the mother, the welfare of the child, and the interests of society.

A “friend of the court” brief filed by the Public Justice Center (“PJC”) and the National Advocates for Pregnant Women (“NAPW”) urges the Court to reverse the criminal conviction of a Talbot County woman indicted by the State’s Attorney on the theory that a positive toxicology screen at the birth of her child constituted a crime. The Circuit Court for Talbot County found Ms. Cruz guilty of violating the state crime of reckless endangerment of another, and the Maryland Court of Appeals agreed to hear her appeal. The brief by the PJC and NAPW argues that the Court must consider the well-established consensus of the medical community that prosecuting women for using drugs during pregnancy is a terrible public health policy that harms both the women involved and their children.

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