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Johnson v. State

Supreme Court of Florida
602 So.2d 1288 (1992)


Jennifer Johnson (defendant) was charged with two counts of delivering a controlled substance to her minor children during birth in violation of a state law that prohibited the delivery of a controlled substance from one person to another. The prosecution alleged that Johnson ingested cocaine on a routine basis and essentially delivered the substance to each of her children via umbilical cord in the 60-to-90-second period following birth, until the umbilical cord was clamped. At trial, an obstetrician, pathologist, and toxicologist testified as to how the cocaine could have been delivered to Johnson’s children after birth via umbilical cord. However, a neonatologist testified for Johnson that it was impossible to precisely determine whether the cocaine derivatives in her children were the result of an exchange between Johnson and her children before or after birth. If the controlled substance was transferred to the children before birth, while the children were in utero, then the statute was not applicable. Johnson was convicted and subsequently appealed, arguing that delivery under the statute was not intended by the legislature to include the birthing process.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Harding, J.)

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