EASTON, Md. -- Lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union are appealing the conviction of an Easton woman who was accused of endangering a child by using cocaine while she was pregnant.
Kelly Cruz, 30, was found guilty of a reckless endangerment charge Aug. 5 after waiving her right to a jury trial. She was ordered to serve 2 1/2 years in prison.
Cruz was charged in February, about a month after giving birth to a premature baby boy who tested positive for cocaine.
Defense attorneys had sought an acquittal, arguing there was never a risk of harm to another person -- because a fetus doesn't meet the definition of a person under state law. But a Talbot County judge ruled that the person who suffered the risk was the baby after it was born.
ACLU attorneys said prosecuting women for their actions during pregnancy is unprecedented elsewhere in Maryland and claim it is an attempt to create a new crime by charging pregnant women for harming their fetuses.