United States v. Flute, No. 17-3727 (8th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
The government charged defendant with one count of involuntary manslaughter committed within Indian Country after her newborn baby died due to combined drug toxicity. The district court dismissed the indictment on the grounds that the charged offense did not cover her or her conduct.
The Eighth Circuit reversed, holding that the baby falls within the class of victims protected by 18 U.S.C. 1112 regardless of whether he was or was not a human being when he sustained injuries in utero. In this case, although the plain language of section 1112 and the Born Alive Infants Protection Act plainly encompasses defendant and her conduct, the district court erroneously utilized a separate, unrelated, and uncharged statutory provision to exclude defendant's conduct from section 1112. The court remanded with directions to reinstate the indictment and noted that the district court may take up an as-applied due process challenge it did not reach.