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State may drop Bei Bei Shuai murder charge after adverse ruling

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A judge’s ruling last week barring a medical examiner’s testimony that rat poison ingested by Bei Bei Shuai caused the death of her newborn daughter should cause the state to consider dropping all charges, Shuai’s defense attorney said.

Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry said the ruling could lead to the dismissal of a murder charge against Shuai, but not an attempted feticide charge.

“We’re examining three options for moving forward. These options are requesting an interlocutory appeal of this ruling, engaging a second pathologist to review and assess the cause of death, and dismissing the murder charge and proceeding with prosecution of the attempted feticide charge,” Curry said in a statement. “We have not yet made a decision as to which option we will pursue.”

Shuai was charged with murder and attempted feticide in January 2011 after her newborn daughter, Angel, 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 when her pregnancy was almost at full term. Her friends persuaded her to seek medical attention.    

Marion Superior Judge Sheila Carlisle ruled last week that findings of a medical examiner who testified that rat poison caused the newborn’s death were “not reliable” and could not be used.

“It has been our position from the get-go this is an unconstitutional and illegal prosecution in the first place,” Linda Pence of Pence Hensel LLC said of Shuai’s prosecution. “The only reason she was in jail for 14 months is because they charged her with murder and they knew it was a weak case to begin with.

“Now, to dismiss that (murder charge) but to keep on prosecuting a weak case is immoral and unjust,” Pence said. She said an interlocutory appeal would go before the same Court of Appeals that freed Shuai from jail and pointed to deficiencies in the medical examiner’s testimony.

Pence said Carlisle’s ruling acknowledged testimony that she argued was “not based on scientific principles, biased and quite frankly not probative.”

Pence also has argued investigators shouldn’t have had access to Shuai’s and Angel’s medical records. Carlisle has yet to rule on that motion. Shuai’s trial is set for April 22.

Read more about the Shuai case here. 


 

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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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