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Rat poison not yet linked to Shuai newborn death

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Prosecutors acknowledged Thursday they could not currently provide a witness who would definitively testify that rat poison Bei Bei Shuai ingested was the cause of her newborn’s death, for which she stands charged with murder.

“I’m concerned hearing this in a case that was filed in (March) 2011,” Marion Superior Judge Sheila Carlisle said during a motions hearing.

Meantime, Carlisle warned prosecutors and defense attorneys she would grant no more continuances for the trial of Shuai, whose newborn daughter died days after Shuai had consumed poison in a failed suicide attempt after being jilted by the baby’s father.

Prosecutors said a Michigan expert reviewing evidence had still not rendered an opinion on the cause of the infant’s death, though prosecutors previously told Carlisle and defense attorneys they expected the doctor’s review would be completed in mid- to late-April.

“To not know what his position is is very unjust,” defense attorney Linda Pence told Carlisle. The expert now is scheduled to be deposed by both sides in mid-May. Shuai is scheduled to stand trial Sept. 3.

Deputy prosecutor Courtney Curtis told Carlisle the expert was “two-thirds of the way through the process” of determining a cause of death. “These people are scientists and they’re very cautious with what their process is. We’re just not there yet,” Curtis said.

After Thursday’s hearing, Pence said Shuai has been charged with murder for more than two years, but “as of now, they’ve not presented any testimony from an expert” on cause of death. “It’s alarming to me.”

Carlisle ruled in January that a medical examiner’s testimony that rat poison caused the death was unreliable and not admissible.

The Shuai case became international news after charges were filed. Pence says charges should never have been brought and represents a criminalization of conduct for which men and non-pregnant women would not have been prosecuted.

Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said in an August interview that the language of criminal statutes under which Shuai was charged is plain, and he had no hesitation about filing charges once facts of the case were known because Shuai’s conduct fell within that language.
Carlisle acknowledged the hundreds of potential exhibits from prosecutors and the defense and made the pronouncement that rather than granting continuances, evidence would be stricken if it didn’t meet deadlines.

“This is going to be a monumental case and it’s going to take a lot of cooperation,” Carlisle said. “There is no continuation of this jury date.”

Carlisle also Thursday heard a motion in limine from Pence to bar autopsy photos of newborn Angel Shuai. Pence said the photos shouldn’t be admitted before the defense has had an opportunity to know who might be testifying regarding cause of death.

Carlisle said she would rule on that motion later, along with a dozen prosecution motions in limine seeking to limit broad ranges of testimony and courtroom conduct, including: prior convictions or bad acts or potential witnesses; references to lack of criminal history or residence status of potential witnesses; decisions about prior plea offers and prosecution; limiting courtroom attire such as shirts, hats or buttons that advocate a position on the prosecution; and statements that illicit sympathy.

In only one instance did Carlisle act on a motion before her Thursday, granting a prosecution request to bar any evidence pertaining to a potential range of sentencing if Shuai were convicted of murder.   




 
 

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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