Sometimes, unwise personal decisions can negatively affect others even if there was no ill intent. And if anyone was harmed in the process, he or she becomes liable.
That's what happened to one Humboldt County woman, whose drug addiction recently led to a prison sentence.
On November 21, 2010, Maggie Jean Wortman's 6-week-old son, Michael Acosta III, died of methamphetamine toxicity. Authorities investigated the case for two months, and finally determined that Acosta had consumed a lethal dose of the powerful drug that was transmitted through his mother's breastmilk, based on the results of his autopsy.
"She… denies that her unconscionable negligence led to the deadly poisoning of her child," the probation report states, according to the Time-Standard in Eureka. "Rather, defendant asserts that someone killed the victim while defendant was sleeping and staged a suffocation scene at the foot of her bed."
The news source reports that Wortman had tested positive for the drug while she was six months pregnant with Michael, and later admitted to authorities that she consumed meth multiple times per week before he died, according to court documents.
In February, she pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in a deal with prosecutors in order to avoid the possibility of being charged with murder. According to the Times-Standard, she only did so because she believed she would be granted probation, which was not possible because of the felony manslaughter charge.
Wortman had the opportunity to withdraw her plea on Monday, but refused, claiming that she just wanted the case to be over, the media outlet reports. Though she still claims she is innocent, she was sentenced to six years in prison.
Attorney Search Network is a California state Bar certified legal referral service that helps clients find an attorney for nearly any type of case, whether they require a family lawyer, bankruptcy attorney, estate planning attorney or criminal lawyer.