The unborn child's mother, Natalia Harrell, is awaiting trial for second-degree murder in Florida, after video allegedly shows her shooting another woman in a crowded Uber.
In a bizarre turn of events, a petition from an unborn fetus by way of its pregnant mother has been filed demanding their release from a Florida jail.
Natalia Harrell is currently behind bars at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center, where she's being held without bond while awaiting trial for second-degree murder. But her lawyer -- in a new court filing naming Harrell's unborn child as the petitioner -- is now arguing the fetus and, by default, its mother should be released from custody because the baby-to-be's "constitutionally protected due process rights have been clearly violated."
Harrell was arrested and charged with the July 23, 2022 murder of Gladys Yvette Borcela last year, after video footage from inside a crammed Uber allegedly showed Harrell pull a gun and fire it at Borcela while the two were arguing. Borcela was struck once in the chest and succumbed to her injuries.
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In the new filing, via Fox News, Harrell's lawyer argues she "was in fear of her life and the life of her unborn child" when she fired at the victim -- who, they say, "threatened Ms. Harrell with physical bodily injury." Her attorney also says his client "did not have the benefit of competent counsel" to fight on her behalf when a "no bond" warrant was issued.
The filing claims Harrell -- who is reportedly 8 months along -- has received "inadequate prenatal care" for her unborn child, saying officials failed to bring her to doctor's appointments or provide her with prenatal vitamins, despite requesting them "numerous" times.
Arguing that under Florida law, an unborn child should be treated as a "person," Harrell's lawyer is pushing for release because "the UNBORN CHILD has not committed any crime, nor has the State of Florida, the Respondents or Miami Dade State Attorney put forward any allegations that the UNBORN CHILD committed a criminal offense."
It adds: "UNBORN CHILD seeks immediate release from custody of and detention by Respondents in order to: (1) receive necessary immediate medical care and treatment from the OB-GYN physician at Jackson Hospital; (2) be free from unlawful and illegal detention by Respondents; (3) avoid entering the world on the concrete floor of the prison cell and without the medical care and treatment by competent physicians and nurses; and avoid being subject to disparate and adverse treatment by Respondents; and (4) avoid being placed in an inherent dangerous environment at the county detention center which subjects UNBORN CHILD to serious bodily injury or death."
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Responding to the filing, lawyers for Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation Director James Reyes said Harrell has had "at least four obstetrician appointments outside of the jail and, notably, refused to attend a fifth."
They say she's also been offered prenatal vitamins daily for months, but has refused them "on more than one occasion" and hasn't allowed nurses to measure her fetal heart rate. They also claim she will be transferred to an infirmary at 36 weeks and brought to a hospital to give birth.
In a statement to Law&Crime, the Miami-Dade County Corrections and Rehabilitation Department said they partner with Jackson Health System "to provide healthcare to the inmates in our custody, and we are committed to ensuring all inmates receive professional, timely medical care and all appropriate treatment."
"We are conducting a full review of the health services offered and received to ensure that all pre-natal care being provided in our custody is appropriate," the statement concluded.