Case Dismissed Against Marshae Jones

Marshae Jones, who was charged with manslaughter after the death of her 5-month-old fetus. (Source: White, Arnold & Dowd P.C. )

A judge has dismissed the case against Marshae Jones, whose fetus was killed during a fight in December.

Circuit Court Judge David Carpenter dismissed the case Saturday morning. He dismissed the manslaughter charge on which Jones had been indicted with prejudice, meaning the charge cannot be refiled.

Bessemer Cutoff District Attorney Lynneice Washington announced Wednesday that she was dropping the misdemeanor charge.

A grand jury indicted Jones after hearing evidence that she had initiated a fight with another woman, although it was the other woman who shot Jones, which resulted in the death of the fetus.

The case drew national attention and outrage from women’s rights groups and legal advocates. Combined with the state’s newly passed abortion ban, women’s rights groups said the charge demonstrated that Alabama’s legal system was misogynistic.

Jones lawyers, with White Arnold & Dowd, said when asking that the charge be dismissed that it was “completely unreasonable and unjust.” They also contended that charging a woman whose fetus had been killed in such circumstances was an abuse of the state law under which the charge was filed.

After the prosecutor said she would drop the charge, the lawyers issued a statement saying: “The District Attorney’s decision will help Marshae continue to heal from this tragic event and work to rebuild her life in a positive and productive way. She moves forward with enormous gratitude for the support she and her family have received during this challenging time.”

Washington when she announced that she was dropping the charge said: “This is truly a disturbing and heartbreaking case. An unborn child was tragically lost, and families on both sides of this matter have suffered. Nothing, nothing, nothing we do today or in the future will change that reality.

“The issue before us is whether it’s appropriate to try to hold someone legally culpable for the actions that led to the death of the unborn child.  There are no winners, only losers, in this sad ordeal.”

Washington, who was on vacation out of the country when news about the indictment initially broke, said that after reviewing the case and the law, she determined it was not “in the best interest of justice” to pursue prosecution of Jones.