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Wednesday, April 23, 2014
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Baton Rouge woman freed after judge rejects feticide charge

Last Modified: Saturday, November 23, 2013 7:53 PM

BATON ROUGE (AP) — A Baton Rouge woman who allegedly snorted cocaine before giving birth to a stillborn fetus has been freed from jail following a judge's decision to reject a criminal charge against her.

State District Judge Trudy White ruled that Princess Beachem, 32, couldn't be held on a charge of second-degree feticide because the felony count doesn't apply to actions by expectant mothers.

"It has to be a perpetrator other than the mother of the unborn child," White told The Advocate (http://bit.ly/1aOJWpZ ) on Friday.

White said her ruling doesn't prevent authorities from bringing a different charge against Beachem. East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III said the judge's ruling doesn't prevent his office from pursuing the case.

"It just means she's released from her bond," Moore said.

Beachem was seven months pregnant when she was taken to a hospital in September after complaining of stomach pains. After doctors performed an emergency cesarean section, Beachem allegedly told investigators she had snorted cocaine a few days earlier.

Beachem was arrested on Nov. 15 after parish coroner Beau Clark ruled the case was a homicide. Clark said the mother's drug use "led to a normally healthy baby ending up dying."

Farah Diaz-Tello, a staff attorney for the New York-based National Advocates for Pregnant Women, said she was surprised to learn of Beachem's arrest.

"I want to ascribe the best intentions to these folks," she said, "but trying to punish women for drug use is not helpful."

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