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Shuai pleads guilty to lesser charge, is freed

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Bei Bei Shuai is free.

The Chinese immigrant who tried to kill herself by consuming rat poison and was charged with murder and attempted feticide days later when her newborn daughter died pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of criminal recklessness, a Class B misdemeanor.

Shuai’s plea agreement was announced this afternoon in Marion Superior Court and accepted by Judge Sheila Carlisle. Shuai will serve no additional jail time and was released from monitoring Friday afternoon.

Defense attorney Linda Pence said the outcome was about the best her client could have hoped for short of dismissal. Shuai was sentenced to 178 days, but time served exceeds that amount. “She has served her time in this case,” Carlisle said in approving the plea agreement.

 “It feels great,” Shuai told reporters after the hastily-called final hearing in her case, which lasted less than 30 minutes. “I can tell you I feel great relief.”

The agreement also protects Shuai from any potential immigration sanctions. “Although the state has no authority regarding immigration laws, the state and defendant enter into this agreement with the belief that this conviction will not trigger adverse immigration consequences.

“If adverse immigration consequences occur based on this conviction, it shall result in the State filing a motion to set aside this agreement which shall be granted by this court,” the agreement says.

Pence has insisted that the case never should have been prosecuted. “This woman was in the throes of depression,” she said as she stood next to Shuai after the hearing. She said Shuai was prosecuted for actions she took that weren’t crimes.

Prosecutors made no remarks about the agreement during the brief hearing in which the felony counts were dropped. In order to allow the plea to the misdemeanor, the state filed amended information Friday afternoon that said Shuai on Dec. 23, 2010, “recklessly performed an act, specifically: ingested Brodifacoum, that created a substantial risk of bodily injury to a person, that is: Angel Shuai.”

Shuai, 34 at the time, was charged after her newborn daughter died days after her delivery by emergency caesarian section at Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. Shuai had told friends that she consumed rat poison days earlier in an attempted suicide after the baby’s father jilted her. Her friends persuaded her to seek medical attention.

Shuai was to face trial beginning Sept. 3 in State v. Bei Bei Shuai, and earlier Friday, Carlisle gathered reporters and media representatives for a decorum hearing. Pence said prosecutors had called her that morning with an offer.

Carlisle said earlier Friday she was prepared to call as many as 200 potential jurors within about two weeks.

After Shuai was charged, she spent 435 days in the Marion County Jail before a divided Court of Appeals ruled she should not be denied bail, and she ultimately was freed on $50,000 bond. One appellate court judge dissented, saying the grant of bond didn't go far enough and that she would dismiss the charges altogether.

Carlisle also approved a waiver of fines and court fee for Shuai, who Pence said had limited resources. After the hearing, Pence said Shuai was one of the kindest and most gracious young women she had ever met and works seven days a week at an Indianapolis Chinese restaurant. “She has a fabulous life ahead of her,” Pence said.

But Pence said Shuai also will bear the results of her actions, and said she sleeps with her daughter’s ashes nearby. “The one who will suffer,” Pence said, “it will be this woman.”

Shuai’s case became an international story, and she thanked supporters, who she said boosted her spirits while she was jailed. “I was really, really depressed until one day I read a letter a supporter sent to me,” she said. “I remember every one of them.”

“I’m thrilled it’s been resolved and Miss Shuai doesn’t have to undergo any more pain,” Pence said.  
 

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  1. I like the concept. Seems like a good idea and really inexpensive to manage.

  2. I don't agree that this is an extreme case. There are more of these people than you realize - people that are vindictive and/or with psychological issues have clogged the system with baseless suits that are costly to the defendant and to taxpayers. Restricting repeat offenders from further abusing the system is not akin to restricting their freedon, but to protecting their victims, and the court system, from allowing them unfettered access. From the Supreme Court opinion "he has burdened the opposing party and the courts of this state at every level with massive, confusing, disorganized, defective, repetitive, and often meritless filings."

  3. So, if you cry wolf one too many times courts may "restrict" your ability to pursue legal action? Also, why is document production equated with wealth? Anyone can "produce probably tens of thousands of pages of filings" if they have a public library card. I understand this is an extreme case, but our Supreme Court really got this one wrong.

  4. He called our nation a nation of cowards because we didn't want to talk about race. That was a cheap shot coming from the top cop. The man who decides who gets the federal government indicts. Wow. Not a gentleman if that is the measure. More importantly, this insult delivered as we all understand, to white people-- without him or anybody needing to explain that is precisely what he meant-- but this is an insult to timid white persons who fear the government and don't want to say anything about race for fear of being accused a racist. With all the legal heat that can come down on somebody if they say something which can be construed by a prosecutor like Mr Holder as racist, is it any wonder white people-- that's who he meant obviously-- is there any surprise that white people don't want to talk about race? And as lawyers we have even less freedom lest our remarks be considered violations of the rules. Mr Holder also demonstrated his bias by publically visiting with the family of the young man who was killed by a police offering in the line of duty, which was a very strong indicator of bias agains the offer who is under investigation, and was a failure to lead properly by letting his investigators do their job without him predetermining the proper outcome. He also has potentially biased the jury pool. All in all this worsens race relations by feeding into the perception shared by whites as well as blacks that justice will not be impartial. I will say this much, I do not blame Obama for all of HOlder's missteps. Obama has done a lot of things to stay above the fray and try and be a leader for all Americans. Maybe he should have reigned Holder in some but Obama's got his hands full with other problelms. Oh did I mention HOlder is a bank crony who will probably get a job in a silkstocking law firm working for millions of bucks a year defending bankers whom he didn't have the integrity or courage to hold to account for their acts of fraud on the United States, other financial institutions, and the people. His tenure will be regarded by history as a failure of leadership at one of the most important jobs in our nation. Finally and most importantly besides him insulting the public and letting off the big financial cheats, he has been at the forefront of over-prosecuting the secrecy laws to punish whistleblowers and chill free speech. What has Holder done to vindicate the rights of privacy of the American public against the illegal snooping of the NSA? He could have charged NSA personnel with violations of law for their warrantless wiretapping which has been done millions of times and instead he did not persecute a single soul. That is a defalcation of historical proportions and it signals to the public that the government DOJ under him was not willing to do a damn thing to protect the public against the rapid growth of the illegal surveillance state. Who else could have done this? Nobody. And for that omission Obama deserves the blame too. Here were are sliding into a police state and Eric Holder made it go all the faster.

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