The New Pregnancy Drug Law in Tennessee
July 25, 2014•32 min
On July 1st a new law took effect in Tennessee that allows prosecutors to pursue criminal assault charges if the mother uses illegal drugs during pregnancy. Although it had widespread bipartisan support and is designed to fight Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, some believe it to be an unconstitutional infraction on privacy, equal protection, and due process. On this episode of Lawyer 2 Lawyer, host J. Craig Williams interviews Tennessee House Representative Mike Carter and Legal Director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee Thomas Castelli. Together they discuss maximum penalties, the law's effect on demographics, and treatment based defenses to punishment. Tune in to hear why the Tennessee General Assembly believes this law is their only option and the reasons the ACLU is fighting it.
Thomas H. Castelli is the Legal Director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee. Prior to joining the ACLU, he provided litigation counsel to businesses and law firms with Counsel on Call and was a founding partner with Castelli and Knox, LLP, a small general practice firm with an emphasis on employment discrimination and wrongful discharge. He also worked as an associate at Schulten, Ward and Turner, LLP as well as Sutherland, Asbill and Brennan, LLP, where he focused on employment, construction, bankruptcy and general business litigation. He is a native Tennessean who grew up in Murfreesboro.
The Honorable Mike Carter is a House Representative in the Tennessee General Assembly. He is a life-long resident of Ooltewah, Tennessee and practiced law for twenty years before being appointed as Judge, now retired, in 1997 by then Governor Don Sundquist. In 2009, Mr. Carter served as Special Assistant to then County Mayor Claude Ramsey. In 2012, he ran unopposed as a State Representative to serve the people of the newly created 29th District of Tennessee. Carter serves on the House Civil Justice Committee, House Finance Ways and Means Committee, and the House Ethics Committee. He also serves on TACIR (Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations) and the House Judicial Oversight Panel.
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