In State v. Morrison, the Maryland Court of Appeals looked at involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment convictions against a Baltimore mother who co-slept with her infant and unintentionally  killed the child by sleeping on her.  The mother appealed and the Court of Special Appeals reversed the conviction.  The State then appealed, and when the case came before the Court of Appeals, the WLC submitted an amicus brief highlighting the racial, socioeconomic, and gender-based biases underlying judgments regarding co-sleeping and parenting decisions in general.

WLC’s brief was cited multiple times, both by the majority and in the concurring opinion, written by Judge Watts.  Judge Watts states, “In its amicus brief, The Women’s Law Center of Maryland, Inc. makes the point that women, i.e., mothers, have traditionally been prosecuted more frequently or consistently for crimes involving child abuse and failing to protect children as opposed to men, and in particular that judgments concerning co-sleeping ‘are intertwined with questions of gender, race, and class.’ . . . [and] affirming the conviction in this case would potentially have a disparate effect on women in general, and indeed women of color and women of limited socioeconomic means.”

For the full opinion, visit HERE.

For the amicus brief, visit HERE.