Friday, August 7, 2009

This is a felony?

There are the folks who get harassed, and often arrested and sometimes prosecuted, for mouthing off to the cops, being belligerent, being black, or all of the above. (See Henry Louis Gates for the most high-profile recent incident.) Then there are the folks who get busted for violating someone's, anyone's moral sensibility. (See, e.g, Bowers v. Hardwick, which thankfully is no longer the law.) And then there are the folks who are victims of plain, old-fashioned, American, my-way-or-the-highway puritanism.

Which brings us to the truly sad saga of Stacey Anvarinia. She's the 26-year-old North Dakota woman, busted in Grand Forks, South Dakota for a BUI.

What's a BUI? No, not boating under the influence. It's breastfeeding under the influence.

In Grand Forks, apparently that's felony child neglect, or at least that's the offense to which she entered a guilty plea. (Who knows what the original charge might have been that bargained down to this one?) For that offense, she faced up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

She was sentenced this morning and didn't get that much - just 6 months, which she can serve in substance abuse treatment facility. Oh, and she's hoping to get her kid back. Maybe. Sometime.

I'll accept the basic point. It's probably better to be sober when breastfeeding the baby. Hell, it's probably better to be sober, period. But serving time? A felony record? Years of registration as a child offender, perhaps? (South Dakota lawyers, feel free to jump in here with the answer to that last one.)

Note to law enforcement: Not all misbehavior is criminal.

(Thanks to Doug Berman for finding the story (here) and keeping it up to date (here).

1 comment:

  1. Transferring alcohol to an infant child? No big deal. I'm sure "those people" do it all the time. Nothing to see here- move on. Imagine the public outrage if the police did nothing. They can't win for losing with you "civil liberties" types.