(Image via lawandcrime.com)
Staff Writer: Maya Arruda
Florida is a state famous for two things: oranges and the most unhinged subspecies of human beings. Florida Man memes have circulated around the internet. Tales of the infamous Florida Man have been intensively documented by internet historians on Reddit.
The case of Florida Woman Natalia Harrell seems like a meme in the making on the surface, chock full of Florida Man energy, but this case may set a legal precedent that will harm countless women within the state for years.
Florida resident Natalia Harrell was arrested and taken into custody for a second-degree murder charge for the shooting of Gladys Yvette Borcela during an argument.
Harrell’s court hearing is on March 7th, 2023, in Miami-Dade county.
A habeas corpus petition was sent to the court of appeals by Harrel’s attorney to get her out of the holding facility on the grounds of unlawful detainment of Harrell’s unborn fetus.
The shooting occurred in an Uber car with the victim in the back seat in July 2022.
Before the shooting, Harrell and Borcela had gotten into a heated argument in an Uber rideshare with multiple other people in the car, including an unrelated driver.
Doc cam footage from the Uber driver’s car captured the entire incident, both the argument and the murder.
The victim’s mother started a Change.org petition to deny Harrell bail and to dismiss the habeas corpus petition.
At the time of publishing, 897 individuals have signed the petition.
After the overturning of Roe vs. Wade, the state of Florida passed pro-life state legislature that grants legal rights to unborn fetuses.
At the time of the initial arrest back on July 25th, 2022, Harrell was noticeably pregnant.
Due to the rights granted to fetuses as independent people and the fact that no same judge was going to issue an arrest warrant that pertains to a fetus, Harrell, and her lawyer have sensed plausible loophole material.
The Floridian courts have denied this petition on a technicality, and Harrell remains within the holding facility until her hearing.
Politically, this was a very neutral method of dismissing the petition without agitating pro-life or pro-choice groups; however, due to this ruling, no legal precedent for handling illegal fetus imprisonment has been established.
It is highly possible, even likely, that another pregnant defendant will attempt to use their fetus to avoid imprisonment in the future while being careful to prevent any dismissal on a technicality.
At this point, the courts of Florida will have to make a decision that sets a pro-life or pro-choice legal precedent.
Should a pro-life precedent be set, the correctional department will have a whole other can of worms to deal with regarding what to do if fetuses cannot be imprisoned along with the mothers.
The fetuses cannot be in prison, while the mothers cannot be allowed to walk free without first facing justice.
It will be a logistical nightmare, to say the least.
Though the petition seems like stereotypical Floridian nonsense on the surface, it bears consideration even beyond the eternal pro-life vs. pro-choice conflict.
One of the claims made in this habeas corpus petition alleges that sufficient prenatal care was not given to the defendant’s fetus by the state-holding facility.
Needless to say, a fetus requires and should be given adequate medical care in all cases, regardless of the mother’s legal status.
Denying access to proper maternal healthcare could have disastrous consequences for the fetus, including the possibility of miscarriage.
Restriction of proper healthcare even to non-pregnant inmates would also be a violation of basic human rights.
Should this alleged insufficient prenatal care under state jurisdiction result in a miscarriage, it is possible Harrell and her lawyer may have grounds to sue the state for violating basic human rights and possibly the 8th amendment of the U.S. Constitution since causing a mother to miscarry can be considered a cruel and unusual punishment.
Another issue would arise if Harrell is found guilty in the March 7th trial and gives birth to the fetus.
Custody of the child will be an administrative nightmare, especially if no relatives want to take in the child.
It would be illegal to keep the child with its mother, after all, as a case of false imprisonment and copyright infringement against Hirohiko Araki for making an unauthorized live-action adaptation of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure – Stone Ocean.
The U.S. foster and adoption system has a reputation as bad as Logan Paul, and with the overturn of Roe vs. Wade, it should be expected that more unwanted children will be given to the foster and adoption system compared to previous years within the state.
However, Florida has no news regarding the state of its foster system, which is notoriously problematic, since Senate Bill 7034 was signed by Governor Ron DeSantis back on April 12th, 2022.
Fixing the foster system should have a much higher priority than policing college curriculum.
Evidently, Governor Ron DeSantis has a difference of opinion.
It may prove prudent for the state of Florida and all anti-abortion states to invest more resources into what is well-known as a flawed system considering the new laws in place requiring females to carry unwanted children to term.