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Mother Accused Of ‘Delivering’ Cocaine To Unborn Baby

December 16, 1988

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) _ A woman whose son was born addicted to cocaine was charged Friday with child abuse and delivery of the drug to her baby, a felony drug charge prosecutors say has never been used against a new mother.

Michael Hudson was born Nov. 13 addicted to cocaine and infected with syphilis. He has been treated and placed in a foster home awaiting adoption.

His mother, Toni Suzette Hudson, 29, was arrested Thursday on a street corner known for drug sales. She remained in custody in the Seminole County jail in lieu of $2,000 bond.

Other Florida prosecutors have charged mothers of addicted babies with child abuse, but never with violating drug laws, said Jeff Deen, Seminole- Brevard assistant state attorney.

Conviction of child abuse generally carries a sentence of no more than 60 days. The drug charge carries a maximum sentence of 30 years.

Deen said he could prosecute Ms. Hudson for delivering the drug because state law defines it simply as a transfer from one person to another. He plans to argue that the mother transferred the drug to Michael by ingesting it.

Ms. Hudson, who is unemployed and lives just east of Altamonte Springs, gave birth to Michael at Florida Hospital Altamonte, where urine tests showed the infant and mother had cocaine in their bodies.

The hospital reported the case to the state Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services as required by law when pregnant women appear to be drug users.

HRS investigator Patsy Buckley interviewed Ms. Hudson four days after Michael was born, according to the arrest report. The mother admitted using cocaine almost daily throughout her pregnancy, the report says.

Ms. Hudson told investigators she had used cocaine for about three years and even used the drug while in labor before entering the hospital.

″Buckley advised that Hudson told her that she was not addicted to crack cocaine but tremendously enjoyed using crack cocaine, and it made her life worthwhile,″ the arrest report says.

Michael’s cocaine addiction was sufficient evidence for Deen to subpoena Ms. Hudson’s hospital records, which showed cocaine in her body. A pediatrics expert told investigators the only way a newborn could be addicted to cocaine would be if the mother used the drug.

Next week, authorities plan to arrest three more women on child abuse charges. The women being sought followed a similar pattern of drug abuse, sheriff’s spokesman Roy Hughey said.

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