Court upholds charges against mom

Published 1:19 am Wednesday, October 22, 2008

An effort to dismiss the charges against a Covington County mother who gave birth to a drug-addicted child was denied last week by the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals, but the mother’s attorney says he will appeal the ruling.

Earlier this year, attorneys for Shekelia Ward filed a motion to dismiss the indictment charging Ward with chemical endangerment after she gave birth in January to a child that tested positive for cocaine.

Circuit Judge Charles “Lex” Short denied the motion to dismiss, prompting Ward’s attorney, Corey Bryan of Andalusia, to file another motion with the appellate court requesting that they order Judge Short to change his ruling. The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals disagreed.

In a one line order released Oct. 16, 2008, the appellate court stated, “Upon consideration of the … Petition for Writ of Mandamus, the Court of Criminal Appeals orders that said petition be and the same is hereby denied.”

“Obviously, we are very pleased with both Judge Short’s and the appellate court’s rulings,” District Attorney Greg Gambril said. “A woman who takes drugs to the extent that the baby she gives birth to test positive for drugs commits a crime. She has endangered her baby with those drugs, plain and simple. The chemical endangerment statute was passed to protect children from being exposed to drugs and we will continue to prosecute these cases vigorously.”

But Bryan said he believes the appellate court is wrong and he will continue to appeal the decision.