Woman pleads no contest to leaving newborn in trash, gets time served and probation

posted at 4:41 pm on May 27, 2008 by Allahpundit

Via new dad Jay Stephenson, who makes the inevitable Michael Vick comparison. There’s no question the baby was hers; the question for the jury would have been whether it was born alive, making mom a murder suspect, or dead, in which case she’s “merely” guilty of improperly disposing of the body. (The medical examiner found evidence of a live birth but two other medical experts disagreed.) I say “would have been” because, for reasons I don’t quite grasp, the prosecution’s murder charge against her was dismissed by various judges no less than four times before it got to a jury and replaced with the charge of involuntary manslaughter. Here’s an article from last year after one of the dismissals. What does this mean?

Judge David S. Wesley said he couldn’t overrule Commissioner Ronald Rose’s judgment of the evidence in the preliminary hearing but that the case could not proceed without knowing the cause of death clearly, what Ashcraft could have done differently to save the infant or if she was capable of doing so.

There’s no evidence that the baby would have survived had she sought care, Wesley said.

Wesley cited prior cases where a caregiver failed to provide aid to a newborn, and said a failure to act could be consistent with a charge of involuntary manslaughter.

He then threw out the murder charge and replaced it with that charge.

That boldface bit seems to suggest that, as a matter of law, leaving a baby to die from exposure or starvation (as opposed to engaging in some affirmative act to kill it) doesn’t qualify as a murder — but that can’t possibly be true, can it? And if it’s not true, why dismiss the charge? Let it go to the jury and if the evidence isn’t there for murder, they’ll acquit. Any prosecutors or defense lawyers willing and able to clarify here?

As for how she ended up with that sentence of time served, which in this case meant 30 days in jail and two years of electronic monitoring, she pleaded no contest to a charge of child endangerment resulting in death. And that’s that. Oh, except for one more detail: This isn’t the first time a newborn baby of hers mysteriously disappeared. Nuance:

In April 2004, Ashcraft went to a Los Angeles hospital because she was bleeding, and doctors determined she had given birth.

She said she had given birth to a stillborn child but no body was found and she was not arrested.

One missing “stillborn” baby + another “stillborn” baby in a trash can = five years probation. Painfully obvious exit question: How come mom didn’t call an ambulance when the contractions started or, failing that, when the babies emerged, allegedly not breathing?

Update: Another painfully obvious question from the comments: If she wanted to get rid of the babies, why carry them to term instead of aborting them? Surely she knew she was pregnant; if she was ashamed of it or worried about other people knowing, the time to act was sooner rather than later. If, on the other hand, you want to give her the benefit of the doubt and believe the babies really were stillborn, i.e. that she fully intended to carry them to term and raise them, then what’s with the trash can?

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Ubama supporter no doubt.

SaintOlaf on May 27, 2008 at 4:45 PM

How come mom didn’t call an ambulance when the contractions started or, failing that, when the babies emerged, allegedly not breathing?

Because she wanted the attention. There’s a named syndrome for this behavior…but personally, I’d call it evil and a case for murder.

Geministorm on May 27, 2008 at 4:47 PM

Painfully obvious exit question: How come mom didn’t call an ambulance when the contractions started or, failing that, when the babies emerged, allegedly not breathing?

Crazy. 23 y/o girl with two stillbirths. I do agree with her attorney that is tragic, but it sure the heck is questionable too. If she was planning to kill the babies, I wonder why she didn’t abort them. Makes little sense.

Spirit of 1776 on May 27, 2008 at 4:49 PM

Isn’t this basically a self-performed abortion? After all, it’s not really a life at such a young age, right?

: : sigh : :

cannonball on May 27, 2008 at 4:49 PM

This is as revolting a story as any I’ve ever read. Surely the casual acceptance of abortion in our society influences the attitudes of these low functioning creatures making them believe that anything goes. The seeming complicity of the legal system in reinforcing that attitude makes it clear why the stakes in the culture wars are so high. It’s highly unlikely that this vile creatures’ life of infanticide is over.

JiangxiDad on May 27, 2008 at 4:50 PM

as a matter of law, leaving a baby to die from exposure or starvation (as opposed to engaging in some affirmative act to kill it) doesn’t qualify as a murder — but that can’t possibly be true, can it?

I would say at the least it would be manslaughter which she should get a sentence other than “time served”. I’m not a lawyer, though I have some experience as a defendant.
What a waste.

Geronimo on May 27, 2008 at 4:50 PM

what Ashcraft could have done differently to save the infant or if she was capable of doing so.

Yeah, why speculate on whether radical measures or speculative/experimental medical procedures like not throwing the baby in a trash can or nursing the baby and wrapping him in a blanket might have made a difference here. And, indeed, who knows if Ashcraft was capable of not throwing the baby in a trash can? Tricky business, really. Besides– it’s just a post-gestational abortion, in any case, and protected under the Roe v. Wade Clause of the Constitution. Or something like that.

morganfrost on May 27, 2008 at 4:51 PM

She must be mentally ill not to be getting abortions rather than this craziness.

thuja on May 27, 2008 at 4:52 PM

I got just two words.

My collie says:

Mandatory sterilization?

Here. You earned yourself a doggie biscuit.

CyberCipher on May 27, 2008 at 4:53 PM

This sort of thing is Payable On Death, and I pray for her soul.

NTWR on May 27, 2008 at 4:53 PM

My fondest wish is to drag liberals about 300 years in the future so they can see what the history books say about the “pro-choice” culture that lets things like this happen.

It’s not going to be pretty. Our descendants aren’t going to think much of us.

Professor Blather on May 27, 2008 at 4:55 PM

Woman Monster pleads no contest to leaving newborn in trash, gets time served and probation

JiangxiDad on May 27, 2008 at 4:56 PM

Killing babies and getting away with it.

A proud tradition among abortionist Democrats for decades.

Asked to comment, Nancy Pelosi said “What’s the big deal?

Asked to comment, John Kerry said “Our soldiers kill babies, so stop complaining!”

But, uh ….. don’t execute those murderers on death row, right?

It’s just insane.

fogw on May 27, 2008 at 4:58 PM

I wonder why she didn’t abort them.

Spirit of 1776 on May 27, 2008 at 4:49 PM

Abortion isn’t free.

I don’t know how we can jail women who do nothing to harm the baby while we allow women to abort pregnancies they don’t want.

One person just chose not to do anything.

Besides, this isn’t shocking after reading the story of the woman who shot her own stomach the day she was supposed to give birth and got away with it.

Esthier on May 27, 2008 at 5:01 PM

fogw on May 27, 2008 at 4:58 PM

“A house divided against itself cannot stand,”

JiangxiDad on May 27, 2008 at 5:01 PM

leaving a baby to die from exposure or starvation (as opposed to engaging in some affirmative act to kill it) doesn’t qualify as a murder — but that can’t possibly be true, can it?

Wouldn’t think so. But then I’m not a progressive, pro-choice, enlightened judge.

I’m so utterly weary of these moms killing these children/abandoning them to die, and then getting away with it. One wants to have compassion for their lifes’ plights but it is getting so difficult. If a man did this to his newborn he’d rightly be in jail. Think I’m gonna be sick.

inviolet on May 27, 2008 at 5:06 PM

What can I say? I’m nostalgic for a time when people still believed they had souls.

Vote Sauron 08 on May 27, 2008 at 5:07 PM

If, on the other hand, you want to give her the benefit of the doubt and believe the babies really were stillborn, i.e. that she fully intended to carry them to term and raise them, then what’s with the trash can?

I doubt it would fit in the garbage disposal.

muyoso on May 27, 2008 at 5:09 PM

When reading posts from Allah, why do I always feel like I came in the middle of the conversation, missed half the story, and have to read 5 links just to catch up?

I spent a min or two there wondering who on earth “Ashcraft” is and how I could have missed the mention of her at the start of the post.

TheBlueSite on May 27, 2008 at 5:10 PM

Why do I feel like I’m going to be flamed for that comment? :)

TheBlueSite on May 27, 2008 at 5:10 PM

More proof of our declining civilization.

As I said before, if your world view doesn’t start with pro-human-life, then there’s not much point in your other views. I think the GOP has some big division along those lines even though it’s a chasm with the left wing.

But who am I to say, I’m just a “social conservative”.

kirkill on May 27, 2008 at 5:21 PM

This post is now a lot different from this link in AllahP’s previous post.

kirkill on May 27, 2008 at 5:24 PM

NOT a lot different. sigh, and I even previewed…

kirkill on May 27, 2008 at 5:24 PM

Disgusting.

In all seriousness this girl is in need of mental help. You don’t carry two babies to term just to throw them away.

Theworldisnotenough on May 27, 2008 at 5:34 PM

Update: Another painfully obvious question from the comments: If she wanted to get rid of the babies, why carry them to term instead of aborting them? Surely she knew she was pregnant; if she was ashamed of it or worried about other people knowing, the time to act was sooner rather than later. If, on the other hand, you want to give her the benefit of the doubt and believe the babies really were stillborn, i.e. that she fully intended to carry them to term and raise them, then what’s with the trash can?

Denial.

infidel2 on May 27, 2008 at 5:42 PM

Don’t hospitals have drop-off windows, where you can anonymously dump a baby you don’t want? Or is that only in certain states?

Tanya on May 27, 2008 at 5:44 PM

Yeah, here we go.

And in Montana (where this happened) you have 30 days to drop off a baby at “Hospital, Police Dept or Fire Dept” and they can’t prosecute.

Tanya on May 27, 2008 at 5:48 PM

She must be mentally ill not to be getting abortions rather than this craziness.

No, I think Esthier has it right. Abortions cost money. Doing nothing costs nothing, and the baby’s dead either way.

Quisp on May 27, 2008 at 5:52 PM

Tanya on May 27, 2008 at 5:48 PM

Girl was from Montana, but this happened near USC. But yours is a good point regardless! CA has two. I didn’t know that either.

Spirit of 1776 on May 27, 2008 at 5:57 PM

Isn’t this a course at Yale?

bloggless on May 27, 2008 at 5:57 PM

Unreal.

VolMagic on May 27, 2008 at 6:00 PM

Girl was from Montana, but this happened near USC. But yours is a good point regardless! CA has two. I didn’t know that either.

Right you are. My bad. I was a little surprised that MT allowed it, too.

Tanya on May 27, 2008 at 6:05 PM

Criminally insane.

Rhinoboy on May 27, 2008 at 6:09 PM

Most everybody has said what I think already, so I’m just going to go home and give my precious kid a hug……

Think_b4_speaking on May 27, 2008 at 6:10 PM

And yet Scott Peterson got convicted of murdering his unborn child when he murdered his wife Lacy.

Big John on May 27, 2008 at 6:30 PM

“Everyone [at the firm] couldn’t be happier for her,” said Wallin, who had also advised Ashcraft during the 2004 investigation.

“She’s a wonderful young lady,” he added.

Wonderful young ladies don’t toss babies in the trash. Her so-called support system is as sick as she is.

As far as this goes:

“Wesley cited prior cases where a caregiver failed to provide aid to a newborn, and said a failure to act could be consistent with a charge of involuntary manslaughter.”

I think those cases would be more along the lines of a caregiver not reporting or requesting assistance for a newborn suffering a fall or exhibiting signs of illness.

Connie on May 27, 2008 at 6:33 PM

And yet Scott Peterson got convicted of murdering his unborn child when he murdered his wife Lacy.

Big John on May 27, 2008 at 6:30 PM

It would seem the law only allows the mother to choose life or death. A victory for feminism I guess.

JiangxiDad on May 27, 2008 at 7:06 PM

SaintOlaf on May 27, 2008 at 4:45 PM

Unnecessary

davidk on May 27, 2008 at 7:39 PM

What’s with judges throwing out Jury cases anyway? If it were a case where the judge is taking up the whole burden, ok I get that. But these kinds of cases are between opposing attorneys with a jury making the findings. The judge is only a referee.

– The Cat

MirCat on May 27, 2008 at 8:53 PM

Why all the whining? This is just the far edge of the current abortion mentality. Obama successfully impeded legislation which sought to ban this very form of infanticide; and clearly the mother intended for the baby to be aborted, right?

Jaibones on May 27, 2008 at 9:36 PM

It’s highly unlikely that this vile creatures’ life of infanticide is over.

JiangxiDad on May 27, 2008 at 4:50 PM

Yep, and I think people who do this should be sterilized. No more babies for them.

4shoes on May 27, 2008 at 10:33 PM

Sickening.

But hey, if she murders another one withing five years she could do time…

John on May 27, 2008 at 10:49 PM

When HA runs a story about a baby-in-the-trash mom, “Woman”.
When HA runs a story about animal abuse, “Soulless Monster”.

jgapinoy on May 27, 2008 at 11:35 PM

Bet she would have got prison if she dumped a newborn puppy in that dumpster.

crosspatch on May 27, 2008 at 11:51 PM

Why all the whining? This is just the far edge of the current abortion mentality. Obama successfully impeded legislation which sought to ban this very form of infanticide; and clearly the mother intended for the baby to be aborted, right?

Exactly! Abortion is justified by many as why bring a baby into the world that is not wanted. Well hell if that is ok then why continue taking care of baby that has been born but is no longer wanted?

PierreLegrand on May 28, 2008 at 9:26 AM