People v. Grossberg and Petersen

Infanticide, Feticide, o r N either?

You are the prosecutor in People v. Grossberg and Petersen . In the case, an 18-year-old female gave birth to a full-term baby boy in a Delaware motel room. The 18-year-old father of the child was also present at the time the baby was born. Sometime after the baby was delivered, it was wrapped in a garbage bag and thrown into a dumpster behind the motel. The baby’s body was not discovered until more than 12 hours later. Medical examination revealed that the umbilical cord had been severed prior to the baby’s being placed in the dumpster. The baby’s head showed signs of two skull fractures and some brain injury. The medical examiner concludes that the baby died from being shaken, from multiple skull fractures from blunt trauma, or perhaps from both. She also notes that the baby may have sustained the injuries postmortem (after death) from the force of being thrown into the dumpster; also, the brain abnormalities may have developed while the child was still in the uterus. Answer the following questions:

a. Must you consider all of the medical examiner’s findings in determining whether to prosecute the teen parents for criminal homicide? Why or why not?

b. What is the minimum amount of information that the medical examiner must find to determine criminal homicide? What else can she find in addition to this?

c. As a matter of professional ethics, are you obligated to share all of the medical examiner’s statements with the defense?


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