Indiana AG’s office decides not to appeal decision by appeals court, woman initially convicted of feticide to be released next month

By Dave Andrusko

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Purvi Patel

Purvi Patel

The South Bend [Indiana] Tribune is reporting that the Indiana attorney general’s office has decided not to appeal a decision rendered last month by the Indiana Court of Appeals which vacated the charge of feticide against Purvi Patel and reduced her neglect of a dependent conviction from a class A felony to a class D felony.

The maximum sentence for a Class D felony is three years.

Under state sentencing guidelines, Patel will be released no later than the end of September.

In March 2015 Patel was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Prosecutors said that in 2013, she took abortifacient drugs to induce an abortion and failed to get medical help for the 25-30-week-old baby when he was born alive. Following a trial that took place over six days and which 20 witnesses offered testimony, Patel was convicted of feticide and child neglect.

The three-judge court of appeals panel disagreed. They essentially ruled that prosecutors improperly applied the 2009 feticide law.

While the panel agreed that the state had mounted sufficient evidence to show Patel knew the infant was born alive, it also “agreed with Patel that the state did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the infant could have survived,” according to the Guardian newspaper.

Christian Sheckler of the South Bend Tribune, reported

Bryan Corbin, a spokesman for the attorney general’s office, said officials consulted St. Joseph County prosecutors before deciding an appeal [to the state Supreme Court] would “not be productive” and that ending the case was the most just outcome.

“All those confronted here with very difficult and emotional facts — including the police investigators, prosecutors, trial court and jurors — are to be commended,” Attorney General Greg Zoeller said in a statement, “and we believe justice has been served.”

Larry Marshall, Patel’s attorney, also did not ask the Indiana Supreme Court to review the decision of the appeals court. He told reporters he thought the verdict was “vulnerable,” but “We want to get her out, and had we sought review that would have delayed the process considerably, so we chose not to do that, reflecting a desire to move on.”

Patel was sentenced by St. Joseph Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Hurley on March 30, 2015. Sheckler wrote that the end of September is Patel’s latest possible release date.

At trial, prosecutors said that Patel took abortifacients purchased online from Hong Kong and then deposited the body of her 25-30 week-old baby into a dumpster in back of Moe’s Southwest Grill, the family restaurant. Later that day she showed up at the emergency room of the St. Joseph Regional Medical Center bleeding, with an umbilical cord hanging from her body.