Brief argues misinterpretation of the California Penal Code led to the arrest of Chelsea Becker weeks after stillbirth
SACRAMENTO - California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today filed an amicus brief in support of granting Chelsea Becker’s petition to end the prosecution and all criminal proceedings against her. Ms. Becker was arrested and charged with murder after delivering a stillborn child in Kings County. The Kings County District Attorney alleged that Ms. Becker’s methamphetamine use led to the death of the fetus and constituted murder. The District Attorney charged Ms. Becker with violating section 187 of the California Penal Code on October 31, 2019, and the superior court denied Ms. Becker’s motion to dismiss the charges on June 4, 2020. She has been in custody since she was charged and is currently awaiting trial.
“Today we filed an amicus brief supporting Chelsea Becker's appeal, because we believe the law was misapplied and misinterpreted,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Section 187 of the California Penal Code was intended to protect pregnant women from harm, not charge them with murder. Our laws in California do not convict women who suffer the loss of their pregnancy, and in our filing today we are making clear that this law has been misused to the detriment of women, children, and families. We will work to end the prosecution and imprisonment of Ms. Becker so we can focus on applying this law to those who put the lives of pregnant women in danger."
In the brief, Attorney General Becerra argues that the Kings County District Attorney misinterpreted the law’s intention and the superior court was subsequently incorrect in its judgment of Ms. Becker’s motion to dismiss the charges against her. The brief argues that the text, purpose, and history of the law make it clear that a woman cannot be prosecuted for murder as a result of her pregnancy loss.
Attorney General Becerra is committed to seeing Ms. Becker released from jail with the charges against her dropped and the law applied the way it was intended – to protect women.
A copy of the amicus brief can be found here.