This case is unique, because it is the first time a court has imposed a conviction of homicide for the death of a viable unborn fetus caused by an unlawful but unintentional act. The evidence is persuasive beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, without due regard for the safety and rights of others, and in such a manner as to endanger the life or property of other persons in lawful use of the streets and highways. The soundness of the court's finding depends upon a determination of the following issue: whether the legislature contemplated inclusion of a "viable unborn fetus" in the definition of the word "person" as it is used in the statute.
It seems unnecessary and improper for the court in a criminal proceeding to consider whether a viable unborn fetus is a person, because the law appears settled. Until the statute is amended by the legislature to include a viable fetus, a conviction like that in Dickinson would seem to transcend traditional principles of criminal justice.
Wilfong, Richard R.
"Infanticide - Requirement That the Victim Be Born Alive; State v. Dickinson,"
Akron Law Review: Vol. 3
, Article 6.
Available at: http://ideaexchange.uakron.edu/akronlawreview/vol3/iss1/6