Courts Offer Sterilization for Abusive Mothers


Four cases in the court system in Nashville, Tennessee that featured women who had abused their babies led to plea negotiations that involved sterilizing the women.

Two of the women were defended by attorney Carrie Searcy; one case involved Latara Darden, who was charged with aggravated assault after it was discovered her newborn twins had tested positive for drugs. Darden had already been sterilized, so the point was moot. The other case Searcy defended revolved around another mother whose baby had a positive drug test; that woman had also been sterilized.

A third case where sterilization was discussed was similar to the first two; the mother gave birth to a drug-addled child, but the mother refused to be sterilized so her attorney, Mary-Kathryn Harcombe, was able to work out a different deal.

The fourth and most recent case was more complex; Jasmine Randers, who was reported to have battled mental illness for two decades, fled Minnesota and her court supervision for Nashville. Her mother was taking care of her 10-year-old child, when Randers woke up in a Nashville hotel with her 5-day-old baby unresponsive.

Randers did not take the baby to a hospital for two hours; the hospital pronounced the baby dead. Randers was found not guilty by reason of insanity on Jan. 8, 2015. After her case was tried, Davidson County District Attorney Glenn Funk ordered attorneys working for him not to seek sterilization for defendants.



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