The lawsuit alleges false detention after being arrested for endangering a fetus that did not exist. Another Alabama woman was jailed for drug use while pregnant. But this time there’s a twist: She wasn’t actually pregnant. Her young child merely told a social worker that it was her, according to the woman’s lawsuit against local law enforcement in Etowah County.
There’s an easy way to tell if someone is pregnant, of course, but authorities reportedly failed to do a pregnancy test before Stacey Freeman was jailed for about a day and a half. “Freeman offered to take a pregnancy test, and Etowah County Department of Human Resources officials ordered one,” AL.com said. “However, she never took the test and Etowah County Sheriff’s Detective Brandi Fuller issued a warrant for her arrest, according to the lawsuit.”
Freeman was arrested for allegedly “chemical endangering a child.” Alabama’s Child Chemical Endangerment Act is commonly used against women who use drugs, including marijuana, during pregnancy. Convictions can mean up to 20 years in prison.
Etowah County is particularly bad, according to the group Pregnancy Justice (formerly known as National Advocates for Pregnant Women). The county “has prosecuted more than 150 women over pregnancy allegations in recent years,” Pregnancy Justice said. “Of the more than 1,700 pregnancy-related criminalization cases documented by Pregnancy Justice from 1973 to 2020, Alabama leads the nation with more than 600 cases, and Etowah County leads the state.”
Freeman is suing Fuller and Etowah County Sheriff Jonathon Horton.
Fuller personally made “an obscene number of arrests of pregnant and postpartum women,” Freeman’s lawsuit states. It is alleged that “the sheriff’s department and its associates were reckless in investigating the arrests of women for chemical hazards and subsequently promoting their prosecution”.
Our fight against the criminalization of pregnancy in Etowah Co., AL continues. In the more than 150 cases we’ve found, investigator Brandi Fuller is on almost all of the warrants. She operates uncontrollably to “protect the unborn” – and now that there isn’t even a fetus! This is the next level. https://t.co/ouhExQWWkK
— National Advocates for Pregnant Women (@NAPW) November 21, 2022
Freeman claims she was menstruating when she was arrested and jailed — something that either should have been a telltale sign that she was Not pregnant or needs medical attention if she was. Freeman further claims that prison staff would not give her feminine hygiene products.
Freeman’s charges were eventually dropped but not erased. That means the case is still part of the public record, stating that Freeman tested positive for alcohol, amphetamines and marijuana while pregnant.
“It’s good that the charges were dropped,” Freeman’s attorney, Martin Weinberg, told AL.com. “But even if someone gets arrested and spends two days in jail, it’s harmful. Wrongful and malicious arrests are inherently problematic.”
Until recently, pregnant women jailed in Etowah County for chemical hazards were not released unless they posted $10,000 bail and agreed to inpatient rehab. The county changed that practice in September following action by Pregnancy Justice and AL.com coverage of Ashley Banks.
Banks was jailed for three months after admitting to smoking weed the day she found out she was pregnant. She and others “remained indefinitely detained prior to trial due to the unavailability of treatment beds,” Pregnancy Justice noted in September. “In the case of Ms. Banks, it was determined that she was ineligible for inpatient drug treatment because she did not have a substance use disorder but nevertheless remained incarcerated for three months during her high-risk pregnancy.”
Under the county’s new policy, women must pay bail of $2,500 to be released, as well as fees for pre-trial surveillance. They are also required to take a drug test every 48 to 72 hours, according to Pregnancy Justice.
Jack Daniels can’t take a joke. Speaking of itself, liquor brand Jack Daniels is apparently concerned people will mistake a plastic bottle covered in dog poop jokes for their whiskey. The company has sued the maker of “Bad Spaniel,” a dog toy designed to parody Jack Daniels. From CBS News:
The toy that drove Jack Daniel’s so crazy mimics the square shape of its whiskey bottle, as well as the black-and-white label and amber-colored liquor, and adds what it calls “poop humor.” While on the original bottle the words “Old No. 7 brand” and “Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey”, the parody proclaims: “The Old No. 2 on Your Tennessee Carpet.
Instead of the original noting that it’s 40% alcohol by volume, the parody says it’s “43% Poo by Vol”. and “100% stinky”.
The toy retails for around $13-$20 and the packaging notes in small print: “This product is not affiliated with Jack Daniel Distillery.”
The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case.
Oregon has pardoned about 45,000 people with marijuana possession convictions. Gov. Kate Brown announced yesterday that she was reprieving 47,144 convictions for possession of an ounce or less of marijuana, a move that will affect an estimated 45,000 people. The state will also waive around $14 million in fines.
A hearing is being held today in the case of a school principal accused of sexually exploiting a child after investigating a case of student sexting
The 32-year-old faces up to 12 years in prison
No one has accused him of trying to spread the images or having bad intentions
— Shannon (@ShannonNajma) November 21, 2022
• The percentage of Americans who support stricter gun laws has declined since the summer. In a new Gallup poll, 57 percent of respondents said they support stricter gun laws, up from 66 percent in June but up from 52 percent this time last year.
• “Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey called for a halt to executions and on Monday ordered a full review of the state’s death penalty system after an unprecedented third failed lethal injection,” reported the Associated Press.
• The US needs more housing than anyone can imagine, suggested Annie Lowrey The Atlantic.
• New York has begun issuing licenses for recreational marijuana dispensaries.
• Mother Jones argues it’s time to “liberate the pill”.