Cocaine, attorney practices, due process.
South Carolina officials appeal a decision granting post conviction relief to Cornelia Whitner, a woman who was convicted of child neglect for ingesting crack cocaine during the third trimester of her pregnancy. Whitner plead guilty to the charges and received an eight-year sentence. She petitioned for post-conviction relief, arguing poor representation by her trial lawyer. Whitner contends her lawyer should have argued that she could not be charged with the neglect of an unborn child.
Decision of lower jurisdiction:
Whitner's petition for relief is granted. The state now appeals.
Whitner loses. The Supreme Court of South Carolina reversed the ruling of the Post Conviction Relief Court. The supreme court ruled that a mother could be held accountable for the neglect of a viable fetus.