The court ruled that Regina McKnight, who was convicted in 2001 of homicide by child abuse after being accused of killing her unborn child with cocaine, must be granted a new trial.
McKnight gave birth to a stillborn, 5-pound girl May 15, 1999. The baby's age was estimated at between 34 and 37 weeks.
McKnight's first trial, in January 2001, ended in a mistrial. Four months later, a jury convicted her.[...]
In January 2003, the S.C. Supreme Court upheld McKnight's conviction. The U.S. Supreme Court then refused to hear her case.
Attorneys for the National Advocates for Pregnant Women and the S.C. Civil Liberties Union became involved in McKnight's case when she asked for post-conviction relief.
"The groups got involved because there is complete consensus that prosecuting pregnant women is bad for mothers and babies," said Lynn Paltrow, with the National Advocates for Pregnant Women. "Regina McKnight was convicted on junk science and was not fairly represented at trial."
The decision by the Supreme Court agreed there was no clear connection between the baby's death and the mother's use of cocaine.