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Author Topic: HIV-Positive Woman Is Jailed Until Baby Arrives - Thoughts?  (Read 1650 times)

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Offline next2u

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HIV-Positive Woman Is Jailed Until Baby Arrives



Quinta Layin Tuleh, an HIV-positive woman from Cameroon charged with possession of false immigration documents in Maine, will give birth in prison because U.S. District Judge John Woodcock mandated a sentence that coincides with her due date, the Bangor Daily News reports. Woodcock said the sentence—extended to 238 days from 114—would make certain the infant, due August 29, has an opportunity to be born HIV negative.

The judge also made it clear that the extended prison time was not to punish Tuleh, 28, but to protect her unborn child from contracting HIV. The judge believes the defendant is more likely to receive medical treatment and follow a preventative antiretroviral drug regimen in the federal prison than outside of prison where she would be in the custody of immigration officials.

Zachary Heiden, legal director for the Maine Civil Liberties Union, opposes the verdict. “Judges cannot lock a woman up simply because she is sick and pregnant,” Heiden said. “Judges have enormous discretion in imposing sentences, and that is appropriate. But jailing someone is punishment—it is depriving them of liberty. The deprivation has to be justified, and illness or pregnancy is not justification for imprisonment.”

Tuleh was unaware of her pregnancy and HIV status when she was arrested, according to her attorney, Matthew Erickson of Brewer. She plans to apply for asylum in the United States after completing her sentence.


- an interesting article. what do you think?
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Offline Cliff

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Re: HIV-Positive Woman Is Jailed Until Baby Arrives - Thoughts?
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2009, 09:38:28 AM »
Seems wrong.  But I don't have enough details.  Did she want the longer sentence to maintain her access to HIV meds and the judge complied?  What prompted the judge to doubt her ability to access medical treatment while in the custody of immigration officials?  After serving her sentence would she have been allowed back in the community while her asylum application was being considered?  Does Maine allow undocumented residents access to HIV meds (ADAP)?  I could see justification for what the judge did depending on answers to those questions.

Offline newt

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Re: HIV-Positive Woman Is Jailed Until Baby Arrives - Thoughts?
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2009, 01:45:52 PM »
I  suspect the jude is probably (and sadly) right
"The object is to be a well patient, not a good patient"

Offline minismom

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Re: HIV-Positive Woman Is Jailed Until Baby Arrives - Thoughts?
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2009, 02:08:59 PM »
I realize that I'm coming at this from a different view point and that my circumstances may or may not be related to this woman's, BUT...

When our middle daughter's biological became pregnant with her, DHHR filed a law suit to have taken into pychiatric custody until the baby was born, even though she wasn't going to have physical custody after the child was born.  Why, then?  Because she has a very low-functioning IQ and lacks the ability to make good judgements.  As a result, every one of her children (12 and counting) have been born not only with fetal alcohol but also addicted to drugs.  This was a way to protect the child, and the mother.  A judge disagreed and as a result our daughter was born with FAS and a meth addiction.

How I WISH that Mim's judge had the foresight and forethought to commit her biological and "force" (maybe not a good word) her to take meds.

I agree with Cliff that we don't have all the details.  I also agree with Newt.  If the mom is given meds to help the child, then the mom benefits also.  The fact she had to go to jail to get help is the sad part.

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Offline dixieman

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Re: HIV-Positive Woman Is Jailed Until Baby Arrives - Thoughts?
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2009, 04:32:37 PM »
I have to agree with minismom... and theres more to this story... so if its in the best interest of the unborn child to make sure there is a safety net to help this woman have proper medical attention and to do all that is medically available to keep the unborn infant from contracting HIV then so be it...

Offline Snowangel

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Re: HIV-Positive Woman Is Jailed Until Baby Arrives - Thoughts?
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2009, 04:57:03 PM »
For the baby's sake, I think it is a good idea.  Maybe the judge knows what happens while people are transitioning through immigration and didn't want to take any chances.  She is probably getting better care now that she is in the system than she would have on the street, her lawyer said she didn't know she was pregnant or positive,she might never have went to the doctor.... so I have to agree with Newt and Minismum.

Snow
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Offline mecch

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Re: HIV-Positive Woman Is Jailed Until Baby Arrives - Thoughts?
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2009, 09:14:36 PM »
If thats the only way she was surely going to get treated, it seems the lessor of two evils, since she was going to prison anyway. 
We are assuming the prison couldnt work out a way for her to serve her REAL time and then have immigration provide the rest of the treatment. If sent directly back to Cameroon, would she get treatment?

And what happens after the baby is born. The two go back to Cameroon?

Complicated but hardly inhuman story.
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline Queen Tokelove

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Re: HIV-Positive Woman Is Jailed Until Baby Arrives - Thoughts?
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2009, 09:53:25 PM »
Maybe the judge knows how immigration can be and that she would not get the best medical care if left in immigration. I am wondering how far along her pregnancy was since she claims not have known she was pregnant. I am assuming just weeks since she didn't complain of any symptoms. Sad story but atleast she is in a federal pen. She could be somewhere worse.
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Offline a2z

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Re: HIV-Positive Woman Is Jailed Until Baby Arrives - Thoughts?
« Reply #8 on: June 08, 2009, 02:36:06 AM »
I think that judge is being very compassionate, in probably the only way he can.  The baby will be a US Citizen (which afford a lot of privileges), likely HIV-negative, and Mom will likely be granted asylum to be with her citizen child. 

Really except for that it does against the underlying principles of human freedom and dignity... but sometimes, it's about the bigger picture.
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Offline Ann

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Re: HIV-Positive Woman Is Jailed Until Baby Arrives - Thoughts?
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2009, 06:57:08 AM »
I think that judge is being very compassionate, in probably the only way he can.  The baby will be a US Citizen (which afford a lot of privileges), likely HIV-negative, and Mom will likely be granted asylum to be with her citizen child. 

Really except for that it does against the underlying principles of human freedom and dignity... but sometimes, it's about the bigger picture.


The articles I read about this story all said that although the baby will be born a US citizen, both mother and baby will be deported. Sucks, eh?

Ann
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