Stacey Avarinia, best know for being the woman behind the “drunk breastfeeding” case, was sentenced today in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
The judge gave her 18 months in jail but suspended all but 6 months of the sentence.
Judge Sonja Clapp said she could reduce her sentence by getting substance abuse treatment. I wonder, is her allegedly woman-beating boyfriend going to get anger management treatment? Or are we only going to punish the mother, who has apparently been separated from her daughter all this time.
Said Avarinia at her sentencing:
I am working hard and continue to work to get my daughter back.
Here’s the round-up from the case, as the AP reported back in June and July:
- Avarinia called the police to report a domestic disturbance on April 16. From the Grand Forts Police Incident Summary and States Attorneys Office charge statement (via the brilliant Sustainable Mothering blog):
She stated he kneed her in the chin and struck her face when she attempted to leave.
Officers observed red and swelling area on the bridge of her nose, a small scratch to her left cheek, and a red swollen area on her chin.
- During their investigation, Avarinia breastfed her 6-week-old daughter.
- The police seemingly found the breastfeeding part odd. Said one:
This case is more than just the breast-feeding. It was the totality of the circumstances. It is quite unusual for a mother to be breast-feeding her child as we are conducting an investigation, whether she was intoxicated or not.
- Avarinia’s boyfriend, Delbert Harrison, was no longer at the residence when police arrived. He was never charged for his alleged assault.
- Avarinia was charged with child neglect. She pled to this charge (as in, she did not “plead down”, as is often the case).
I’ve heard that there must be more to these charges and this case, but so far, we haven’t heard any. Don’t you think the prosecutors and police force, which look like total boneheads to the nation and the world right now, would leak some juicy tidbit if there was more to tell? I do.
There are obvious problems with this whole mess, as I’ve ranted about before.
- Breastfeeding while drinking–or even drunk!–is not illegal. It is unethical to be wasted and try to get your nipple in a baby’s mouth, yes, but it is not illegal.
- Technically, because she was breastfeeding, how did the “neglect” charge even go to the prosecutor?
- Most important: This case will stop women from calling the police when abused. Whether a woman has had a drink or not, breastfeeding or not, mother or not, it will make abuse victims wary about contacting the police. Period.
Next up? I’ll report on the Dad who was arrested for holding a beer in one hand and a baby in the other. Oh wait–no.
If you’d like to hear about this case from a legal perspective, go to the aforementioned Sustainable Mothering post.
Fond the story: KXNet.com
Image: eivindw on Flickr under a Creative Commons License.