Involuntary Manslaughter

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2009
Involuntary Manslaughter
8
Sat, 06-19-2010 - 4:22pm

Hi! I'm watching Lockdown and there was a story about Scott Crandall. He accidentally rear-ended a car. Someone in the car he rear-ended got out, punched him and sped off. He got mad, followed the car and rear-ended it so that it went into a telephone pole. A 16 year old pregnant woman was injured and miscarried. He was charged with involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to 7 years in prison.

I'm not familiar with US law, but how could he be charged with involuntary manslaughter if the fetus had not reached "personhood" status? Do you agree with the ruling?

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-10-2003
Sat, 06-19-2010 - 4:39pm

Nope- absolutely don't agree with it.

This case's ruling would be due to the political maneuvering that brought about the UVVA, when the same folks shot down the Motherhood Protection Act that would have provided far more stringent punishments to those who hurt a woman than does the UVVA. The UVVA was a thinly veiled piece of garbage more concerned with trying to assert fetal personhood than provide the teeth necessary to protect a woman.

Bill at: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c108:S.2219.IS:

http://www.house.gov/lofgren/news/2001/010425.htm
LOFGREN INTRODUCES MOTHERHOOD PROTECTION ACT

Offers Middle Ground in Protecting Pregnant Women and Their Unborn Children

April 25, 2001

(Washington, DC) - Today, Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) introduced an amendment to the controversial Unborn Victims of Violence Act under consideration in Congress this week. Her legislation, the Motherhood Protection Act, is a bi-partisan compromise bill to protect pregnant women from violence without creating a constitutional challenge. Both bills try to address violent crimes that cause prenatal injury or miscarriage.

"The Motherhood Protection Act increases the penalty an assailant may receive, up to a life sentence, if someone attacks a pregnant woman and causes a prenatal injury or a miscarriage," said Lofgren. "Denying motherhood to a woman who yearns to become a mother is a truly horrendous crime. It should not be caught up in the abortion debate."

The Motherhood Protection Act recognizes that existing federal law protects women from violent assault and creates an additional crime when that assault compromises a pregnancy or causes a miscarriage. Someone who attacks a pregnant woman and injures her unborn child or causes her to have a miscarriage can be sentenced to life imprisonment. It does not matter whether the assailant knew or intended to cause prenatal injury or miscarriage. The Unborn Victims of Violence Act (UVVA) only allows for a life sentence if someone intended to cause harm to a fetus.

Currently, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act is seen as a thinly veiled attempt to legislatively overturn Roe v. Wade and does not even mention the harm to the woman. The bill's definition of "in utero" makes a two-celled fertilized egg (zygote) a person. Not only is this constitutionally questionable, it causes the legislation to get mired in the abortion debate. The Motherhood Protection Act is an effective middle ground compromise that can protect both the woman and the unborn child without leaving the bill open to a constitutional challenge.

"If Congress is serious about protecting a mother and her unborn child, they would pass the Motherhood Protection Act," said Lofgren. "However, the Republican leadership appears to be using the tragedy of violence against women to further their pro-life agenda. It is apparent from their delay in reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act and their cuts in domestic abuse funds that they are only concerned about violence against women when it furthers their agenda."

Julie Fulcher of The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence has come out in opposition to the UVVA because it "is not designed to protect women…. The result is that the crime committed against a pregnant woman is no longer about the woman victimized by violence." They are concerned that the legislation will divert the attention of the justice system away from violence against women.

and:

Bill as passed: http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=108_cong_public_laws&docid=f:publ212.108
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d108:H.R.1997:

]

UNBORN VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE ACT OF 2004

]

Public Law 108-212
108th Congress

An Act

To amend title 18, United States Code, and the Uniform Code of Military
Justice to protect unborn children from assault and murder, and for
other purposes. <>

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America in Congress <Act of 2004.>> assembled,

SECTION 1. <> SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the ``Unborn Victims of Violence Act of
2004'' or ``Laci and Conner's Law''.

SEC. 2. PROTECTION OF UNBORN CHILDREN.

(a) In General.--Title 18, United States Code, is amended by
inserting after chapter 90 the following:

``CHAPTER 90A--PROTECTION OF UNBORN CHILDREN

``Sec.
``1841. Protection of unborn children.

``Sec. 1841. Protection of unborn children

``(a)(1) Whoever engages in conduct that violates any of the
provisions of law listed in subsection (b) and thereby causes the death
of, or bodily injury (as defined in section 1365) to, a child, who is in
utero at the time the conduct takes place, is guilty of a separate
offense under this section.
``(2)(A) Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph, the
punishment for that separate offense is the same as the punishment
provided under Federal law for that conduct had that injury or death
occurred to the unborn child's mother.
``(B) An offense under this section does not require proof that--
``(i) the person engaging in the conduct had knowledge or
should have had knowledge that the victim of the underlying
offense was pregnant; or
``(ii) the defendant intended to cause the death of, or
bodily injury to, the unborn child.

``(C) If the person engaging in the conduct thereby intentionally
kills or attempts to kill the unborn child, that person shall instead of
being punished under subparagraph (A), be punished as provided under
sections 1111, 1112, and 1113 of this title for intentionally killing or
attempting to kill a human being.
``(D) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the death penalty
shall not be imposed for an offense under this section.
``(b) The provisions referred to in subsection (a) are the
following:
``(1) Sections 36, 37, 43, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 229,
242, 245, 247, 248, 351, 831, 844(d), (f), (h)(1), and (i),
924(j),

]

930, 1111, 1112, 1113, 1114, 1116, 1118, 1119, 1120, 1121,
1153(a), 1201(a), 1203, 1365(a), 1501, 1503, 1505, 1512, 1513,
1751, 1864, 1951, 1952 (a)(1)(B), (a)(2)(B), and (a)(3)(B),
1958, 1959, 1992, 2113, 2114, 2116, 2118, 2119, 2191, 2231,
2241(a), 2245, 2261, 2261A, 2280, 2281, 2332, 2332a, 2332b,
2340A, and 2441 of this title.
``(2) Section 408(e) of the Controlled Substances Act of
1970 (21 U.S.C. 848(e)).
``(3) Section 202 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 (42
U.S.C. 2283).

``(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit the
prosecution--
``(1) of any person for conduct relating to an abortion for
which the consent of the pregnant woman, or a person authorized
by law to act on her behalf, has been obtained or for which such
consent is implied by law;
``(2) of any person for any medical treatment of the
pregnant woman or her unborn child; or
``(3) of any woman with respect to her unborn child.

``(d) As used in this section, the term `unborn child' means a child
in utero, and the term `child in utero' or `child, who is in utero'
means a member of the species homo sapiens, at any stage of development,
who is carried in the womb.''.
(b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of chapters for part I of title
18, United States Code, is amended by inserting after the item relating
to chapter 90 the following new item:

``90A. Protection of unborn children.............................1841''.

SEC. 3. MILITARY JUSTICE SYSTEM.

(a) Protection of Unborn Children.--Subchapter X of chapter 47 of
title 10, United States Code (the Uniform Code of Military Justice), is
amended by inserting after section 919 (article 119) the following new
section:

``Sec. 919a. Art. 119a. Death or injury of an unborn child

``(a)(1) Any person subject to this chapter who engages in conduct
that violates any of the provisions of law listed in subsection (b) and
thereby causes the death of, or bodily injury (as defined in section
1365 of title 18) to, a child, who is in utero at the time the conduct
takes place, is guilty of a separate offense under this section and
shall, upon conviction, be punished by such punishment, other than
death, as a court-martial may direct, which shall be consistent with the
punishments prescribed by the President for that conduct had that injury
or death occurred to the unborn child's mother.
``(2) An offense under this section does not require proof that--
``(i) the person engaging in the conduct had knowledge or
should have had knowledge that the victim of the underlying
offense was pregnant; or
``(ii) the accused intended to cause the death of, or bodily
injury to, the unborn child.

``(3) If the person engaging in the conduct thereby intentionally
kills or attempts to kill the unborn child, that person shall, instead
of being punished under paragraph (1), be punished as provided under
sections 880, 918, and 919(a) of this title (articles 80, 118, and
119(a)) for intentionally killing or attempting to kill a human being.

]

``(4) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the death penalty
shall not be imposed for an offense under this section.
``(b) The provisions referred to in subsection (a) are sections 918,
919(a), 919(b)(2), 920(a), 922, 924, 926, and 928 of this title
(articles 118, 119(a), 119(b)(2), 120(a), 122, 124, 126, and 128).
``(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit the
prosecution--
``(1) of any person for conduct relating to an abortion for
which the consent of the pregnant woman, or a person authorized
by law to act on her behalf, has been obtained or for which such
consent is implied by law;
``(2) of any person for any medical treatment of the
pregnant woman or her unborn child; or
``(3) of any woman with respect to her unborn child.

``(d) In this section, the term `unborn child' means a child in
utero, and the term `child in utero' or `child, who is in utero' means a
member of the species homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is
carried in the womb.''.
(b) Clerical Amendment.--The table of sections at the beginning of
such subchapter is amended by inserting after the item relating to
section 919 the following new item:

``919a. 119a. Death or injury of an unborn child.''.

Approved April 1, 2004.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--H.R. 1997 (S. 1019):
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

HOUSE REPORTS: No. 108-420, Pt. 1 (Comm. on the Judiciary).
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 150 (2004):
Feb. 26, considered and passed House.
Mar. 25, considered and passed Senate.
WEEKLY COMPILATION OF PRESIDENTIAL DOCUMENTS, Vol. 40 (2004):
Apr. 1, Presidential remarks.

http://www.aauw.org/takeaction/policyissues/unborn_victims.cfm

During the 107th Congress, the House passed the so-called Unborn Victims of Violence Act (UVVA), in April 2001. The Senate did not consider the bill in 2002. The legislation (S. 1019/H.R. 1997—renamed “Laci and Connor’s Law” after the Laci Peterson tragedy) has been reintroduced in the House by Rep. Melissa Hart (R-PA) and in the Senate by Sen. Mike DeWine (R-OH). Anti-choice members of Congress are expected to push for consideration of this bill during the 108th Congress. If the bill passes the House and Senate, the president has vowed to sign it into law.

This legislation would create a separate criminal offense if an individual kills or injures an “unborn child” while committing a federal crime against a woman. 1 The specific language of the bill establishes for the first time that a zygote (fertilized egg), embryo (through week eight of pregnancy), and fetus would be recognized as a person distinct from the pregnant woman.

The proposed legislation defines an unborn child as “a member of the species homo sapiens, at any stage of development, who is carried in the womb.” Although the measure would exclude voluntary abortion, it is a back-door attack on reproductive rights because choice opponents could argue that the bill states that life begins at conception, which would become another stepping stone to further anti-choice legislation.

Acts of violence committed against pregnant women are tragic and should be appropriately prosecuted, but this legislation would do nothing to prevent violence against women. Although the sponsors of the Unborn Victims of Violence Act claim to advocate for the protection of women from violence, this bill fails to address the needs of the woman by ignoring the fact that any assault that harms a pregnancy is inherently an attack on the woman. The Unborn Victims of Violence Act would create separate legal rights for the fetus, thereby eroding a woman’s right to reproductive choice. The bill would also undermine the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, which held that a fetus is not a person within the meaning of the 14th Amendment.

Violence Against Women Should Be the Central Concern
To ensure continuation of a woman’s right to live in a safe environment, AAUW also supported the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in 2000, which extended the original Violence Against Women Act for five more years and authorized more than $3 billion over five years to support state and local efforts to protect and assist victims of gender violence. This legislation expanded the original act to assist elderly and disabled women who are victims of violent crimes, created a national resource center on sexual assault, and brought attention to the impact of violence on women’s work lives. 2 The 2000 VAWA reauthorization supports a range of programs that promote healthy childbearing. It continues the commitment of the original VAWA by expanding victims’ services and providing grants for law enforcement and prosecution to combat violent crimes against women. 3

Murder is the leading cause of death among pregnant women in the United States.4 While AAUW supports legislation to prevent and punish violent crimes against women, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act does nothing to this end.

Rather than creating separate legal rights for the fetus, Congress should enact the Local Law Enforcement Enhancement Act, which would extend current hate crimes law to cover crimes targeting people based on their gender. The act would also cover crimes targeting people based on sexual orientation and disability; strengthen the federal response to hate crimes motivated by race, color, religion, or national origin; and expand federal jurisdiction to cover the most violent of these crimes.

Congress could also bolster its efforts on behalf of pregnant women by increasing penalties if the woman suffered injury to her fetus or miscarried. Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) has introduced an alternative bill, the Motherhood Protection Act of 2003 (H.R. 2247), which would create a separate criminal offense for harming a pregnant women and offer penalties matching those in the Unborn Victims of Violence Act. By not establishing the fetus as a separate victim, the Motherhood Protection Act still addresses the problem of violence against pregnant women without calling into question the validity of Roe v. Wade.

Further, by advocating for the separate, legal rights of the fetus, it is clear that the purpose of this legislation is not to protect women from violence, but to undermine a woman’s right to choose. In fact, sponsors of this legislation oppose access to family planning and abortion.

Contact: Lisa Maatz, Director of Public Policy and Government Relations, 202/785-7793
Lynsey Morris, Government Relations Manager, 202/785-7793

AAUW Public Policy and Government Relations Department
Februrary 2004

1 Alan Guttmacher Institute. The Guttmacher Report, Volume 5, Number 1, February 2002. http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/journals/gr050111.html
2 The National Task Force to End Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence. NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund, http://www.nowldef.org/html/issues/vio/tfindex.shtml
3 The National Task Force to End Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence. NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund, http://www.nowldef.org/html/issues/vio/tfindex.shtml
4 Journal of the American Medical Association, 2001; 285: 1451-1459.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-02-2006
Tue, 06-22-2010 - 12:58pm

Erosia has given you good info on the laws in the US.

2010 Siggy
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Tue, 06-29-2010 - 10:28pm
Erosia, is there a crime with which he could be charged for forcing an abortion?
Sandy
Sandy
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-10-2003
Wed, 06-30-2010 - 10:35am
That's interesting- not that I know of- and I would think if you set that as a felony, it would carry even more punishment than assault on the women without extending dangerous rights to a zygote/embryo or fetus that may place womens' rights over their body in jeopardy.
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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-24-2009
Fri, 07-09-2010 - 11:00am

I believe that the Motherhood Protection Act (which was rejected by PL politicians in favor of The Unborn Victims of Violence Act) would have created harsher penalties for someone knowingly attacking a pregnant woman, giving HER greater protection because pregnant WOMEN are often lighting rods for violence, often due to their physical vulnerability.


The very nature of trying to cause a miscarriage can endanger a woman's life, so that could absolutely be a point made by the defense.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-17-2011
Mon, 01-17-2011 - 1:13pm

I have also seen the national geographic show that you are talking about. I will also say up front that I am pro-life & against the death penalty but in saying this I will say that I think Crandal was over sentenced to send a message etc. I found the article in the paper (cincinnati enquirer on another message board) & it says that he accidentally rear ended a car & a male passenger got out and punched him in the face, crandall got road rage hit another car who then in turn hit the first car forcing the passenger door into a tree...this is the seat the 16 year old almost full term woman was sitting & who miscarried. I know someone that had this happen to them but they did not sue & were lucky enough to have 2 more children afterwards. If you watch the full episode you will see the gang leader that meets with the mother of the man that he shot 4x in the back...he got the same charge as crandall & was sentenced to 9 years because it involved a gun in in Hamilton co OH it is a minimum of 3 years for a gun charge.

I did not read all of the above law info because frankly although I do appreciate it it's too much for me to read as I have a bad neck from injuries suffered in a car accident about 13 years ago.

What I can tell you is that in Hamilton Co OH (the same place Crandall was sentenced) in 1995 there was a road rage accident on 275 that a woman miscarried from & prosecutor Dieters at the time helped to make it a law in Cincinnati that if you kill a fetus it is involuntary manslaughter right off the back. '

Death penalty laws say that if you kill a person & rob them both you are up for death sentence or life w/o parole(which I am in favor of)...I want to know why the other man on this show Mr. Albert who met with the family as stated above was not sentence with murder & robery instead of involuntary manslaughter & robery.

Crandall is up to be released at the end of 2011

Albert is set to be released at the end of 2012(he is not from hamilton co)

you can look up any of these men on www.dcr.ohio.gov

you can find scott crandall specifically at http://www.drc.ohio.gov/OffenderSearch/Search.aspx

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-24-2009
Wed, 01-19-2011 - 1:34pm

Well, America, if a pregnant woman slips and falls on your sidewalk, and miscarries, be prepared to face manslaughter charges.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-15-2013
Fri, 02-15-2013 - 12:28am
I too watched it and no I do not agree, for a couple reasons, after everything I have read on it, I've yet found who was at actual fault, the other guy assaulted him first. Then his speed was not recorded in docs. When he hit the pole to say if he was too himself breaking the, he had never been charged for anything, not even the assault on Scott who got scared and pleaded out because he was told he could get more time. I also don't agree because the fetus was just that and not a person yet, not saying it doesn't matter but I think this guy got screwed. Career criminals get less time, he was a good kid, feels bad and will always have to live with a dumb decision he made. Yet this is what America teacheses up to do right.? Someone attack us we attack back, its drilled into us at young ages. America as a whole has to change the way we do things so our people will to. Maybe a little more peace. His sentence was way to harsh for someone never been in trouble and had goals for a good life, who done better and more for society on the outside than in. It's a much bigger picture to look at.