Progress for Adora Perez: Unlawful Manslaughter Conviction for Stillbirth Overturned

On March 18, 2022, a judge in Kings County, California reversed Adora Perez's guilty plea and vacated her 11-year sentence, sending the case back to the trial court for new proceedings. In 2018, Adora Perez, poorly advised by her court-appointed counsel, pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter of her fetus, a crime that doesn't exist in California. Ms. Perez experienced a stillbirth in 2017, which was attributed--without scientific basis--to her use of a controlled substance.

Ms. Perez's legal team, Mary McNamara and Audrey Barron of Swanson & McNamara LLP and C. Matthew Missakian of Law Offices of C. Matthew Missakian, Inc., is seeking to have bail granted and the charges dropped or dismissed as the state's murder statute does not apply to prosecuting women for the loss of their pregnancies, a position California Attorney General Rob Bonta underscored in his recent legal alert.

Ms. Perez's attorneys issued the following statement:

“Adora Perez did not commit any crime, yet she has served more than four years in prison. We are very grateful that Judge Chrissakis overturned Ms. Perez’s plea to manslaughter, which was illegal. Unfortunately, she remains in custody and is once again facing a murder charge in Kings County. We will be asking the court to release Ms. Perez on bail while we work to dismiss the murder case. The Attorney General has made clear that a woman in California cannot be prosecuted for suffering a stillbirth, and we hope that the Kings County District Attorney will follow the law and dismiss the case against Ms. Perez promptly.”

Ms. Perez's legal team is supported by Pregnancy Justice, ACLU of Northern California, and Drug Policy Alliance.