ST. CHARLES, Mo. - The lawyer of a mother charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of her infant daughter says the woman should be set free based on a ruling by Missouri's Appellate Court. Sherri Lowenstein, 34, was charged after her daughter Zreanna died 15 minutes after birth on Sept. 9, 2006. Lowenstein had a blood-alcohol level of .18 when she gave birth and the baby's was .17.
Missouri considers a person drunk with a blood alcohol content of .08. Zreanna was born several weeks prematurely and weighed 2 pounds. The Sept. 11 appellate court ruling held that authorities could not prosecute a mother for child endangerment because she and her baby tested positive for marijuana and methamphetamine the day after he was born. The court found that state law bars prosecution of a mother for causing direct harm to a fetus. Circuit Judge Nancy Schneider will decide if prosecutors can move forward with the case. Lowenstein could serve 7 years in prison if she is convicted. No matter what Schneider rules, both sides said they will appeal. The Missouri Supreme Court will likely decide the case.