Even though it may be hard to believe that a pregnant woman who hasn’t been accused of a crime could be in jail, it is the case for Adrianna Thurman.
This woman refused to submit her two children to a paternity test requested by her ex-boyfriend Erwin Rush, so she was held in contempt of the St. Louis Family Court and was thrown in jail for 39 days.
She was held without being charged for a crime because her case was civil, and not criminal, she did not have access to an attorney, and she was not eligible for bond.
Believe it or not, she was seven months pregnant at the time, and she wasn’t given access to a doctor until two weeks after she arrived there.
Thurman also wasn’t given an extra blanket and mattress, something that is usually provided to pregnant women.
She ended up giving birth prematurely after she was released, and according to her, her labor was a direct result of the wrongful incarceration. She was separated from her children during the 39 days she was in jail, and she also lost her housing and her job.
Postnatal testing found that she has Stage 4 breast cancer, and it could have been detected much earlier if she wasn’t in jail over the paternity test. On top of that, it turned out that Rush, her ex-boyfriend, wasn’t the father of her children, just like she claimed.
She has now filed a lawsuit in which she claims that her civil rights were broken, and she says that she wasn’t notified that the Family Court Commissioner ordered a paternity test. According to her, Erwin’s attempts to get a paternity test was so he could stalk her.
Chelsea Merta, her attorney, said that it’s scary. One minute you’re just living your life and taking care of your kids, and the next the police are knocking on your door and take you in contempt for something that you didn’t even know was happening, and you end up being locked up for 39 days and lose everything.
Thurman is now not only seeking for her losses to be redeemed, but she also seeks a change. This is a judicial oversight, police oversight, and all of these errors were made on behalf of a system that’s supposed to protect people’s interests, and not infringe upon them.