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Indiana Court of Appeals to hear Purvi Patel’s appeal to reverse her 2015 neglect & feticide convictions

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About 30 people, most arriving on a bus from Chicago, formed a circle Monday, May 23, 2016, outside the Indiana Statehouse before sitting in on an appeal by Purvi Patel, a Mishawaka woman sentenced to 20 years for feticide. (Photo: Robert Scheer/IndyStar)

About 30 people, most arriving on a bus from Chicago, formed a circle Monday, May 23, 2016, outside the Indiana Statehouse before sitting in on an appeal by Purvi Patel, a Mishawaka woman sentenced to 20 years for feticide. (Photo: Robert Scheer/IndyStar)

INDIANAPOLIS (Diya TV) — Purvi Patel, an Indian American woman who last year was sentenced to serve 20 years in prison in connection with the ending of her own pregnancy, will appeal her case and sentence to the state’s highest court.

Patel’s attorneys sought Monday to overturn the conviction of feticide and neglect of a dependent. The state’s interpretation of its feticide law has drawn national interest of the case, and Monday’s hearing focused heavily on the evidence used to secure the conviction, including whether or not the prosecution had sufficiently proven Patel knew her child had been born alive.

On the night in question, Patel sought medical attention at St. Joseph Hospital after delivering her child at home, according to court documents. When doctors questioned her about her condition, Patel told them she had delivered a stillborn child in her home and discarded the body into a dumpster.

However, prosecutors further alleged that Patel had ordered abortifacients online, and that her child had been born alive.

On Monday, attorney Lawrence Marshall shared the outline of the appeal.

“The evidence in this case was not there whatsoever,” Marshall said. “Not a single expert ever said — in any sort of declarative way — that yes, this infant would have survived had Ms. Patel done differently.”

Opponents of Patel’s conviction have argued that the charge of feticide was never created for the use of criminal prosecution against pregnant women, but instead was meant to serve as an instrument to target providers of illegal abortions. Patel became the first Indiana woman to be convicted of feticide in a case like this in state history.

Marshal berated the state for its use of the feticide statute, and said Indiana’s laws do not criminalize this type of abortion and should have never played a role in his client’s case. Additionally, he scrutinized the state’s case on the charge of neglect, which he said was not proven during Patel’s trial. The state never asked its expert witness whether Patel’s child would have made any noise or shown any visible signs of life that would signal to Patel that the baby was not stillborn, he said.

Prosecutors also never presented any evidence that the child, who was born several weeks premature, would have benefited from medical care received at the hospital, Marshall said.

The three-judge panel questioned Marshall about the importance of the child’s survival as a factor in the case.

Judge Nancy Vaidik said: “Someone is about ready to die of cancer, and someone shoots them. That person is guilty of murder. I mean, we don’t say, ‘Oh, they only had another five hours to live.’ And that’s what I’m struggling with.”

The state maintained evidence provided at Patel’s 2015 criminal trial was enough to support her convictions. Her actions fell within the scope of Indiana’s feticide law, Deputy Attorney General Ellen Meilaender said.

“It’s the defendant’s failure to seek medical treatment, to provide that care for the baby, that led to all of the things that resulted in the baby’s death,” Meilaender said. “The jury could reasonably infer that somebody who was holding a live baby in her hands would be aware that it was alive.”

The judges pressed Meilaender on multiple occasions about what specific evidence had proven Patel was aware of the child’s condition, an issue of the utmost importance to the appeal, the judges said.

Vaidik weighed in again, saying: “This is what the state has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt: that she knew that this baby was breathing and alive.”

When the panel will deliver its ruling remains unclear, but legal experts and advocates of women’s rights nationwide are keeping a close eye on the case.

“It’s hard to tell which way the case is going to go,” said Lisa Sangoi, an attorney with the National Advocates for Pregnant Women. “But what we do know is that the people of Indiana, and the Indiana state legislature, have not permitted the punishment … of women for having or attempting abortions under the feticide law. So we are certainly hopeful this court will take the lower court to task.”

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Nikki Haley wont run, if Trump runs in 2024

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If Trump Runs In 2024, Haley Says She Will Not | Diya TV News

SOUTH CAROLINA (Diya TV) — Former US Ambassador to the United Nations and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley says she will not make a run for the White House in 2024. But that’s only if Donald Trump decides to enter the Presidential race. Haley continues to be mentioned as a potential candidate for the Oval Office, but the Indian American’s public comments are being interpreted as an early endorsement for former President if Trump chooses to run again.

And more positive news for India’s economy. The International Monetary Fund says it’s projecting a 12 and half percent growth rate for the South Asian nation in 2021. That’s even stronger than what’s expected for China and America’s economy this year.

India is going through a historic tech boom for unicorn start ups. These are the companies valued at more than a billion dollars. In a span of four days, the country saw 6 tech unicorns emerge onto the scene. Startups like Groww, Gutshup, API Holdings, Mohalla Tech, Meesho, and Cred all reached valuations of a billion dollars or more. And that’s attracting some of the world’s largest investors like Softbank and Tiger Global.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Indian American couple dead in apparent murder-suicide

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Indian American Couple Dead In Apparent Murder-suicide | Diya TV News

 North Arlington, NEW JERSEY (Diya TV) — Authorities in New Jersey are investigating a possible murder-suicide, saying Balaji Rudrawar stabbed his wife Aarti to death. Both were found dead in their home with multiple stab wounds. Their young daughter was found unharmed inside. The motive remains unclear. The man’s father told an India-based media outlet his daughter in law was 7 months pregnant.

In Indian waters, a US war ship sailed through India’s Exclusive Economic Zone without asking for permission, a violation of that country’s law. Both countries remain partners in the region. Sources with the Indian Navy say the move was more about sending a message to China.

As Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry wraps up his India trip,  he’s taking to social media and personally thanking some of the leaders of that region including Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India and now Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Foreign Minister Dr. AK Abdul Momen of Bangladesh, saying all the countries involved are committed to address global warming and climate change. Kerry is raising awareness about this issue heading into a climate conference with world leaders later this month. 

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Muslim advocates sue Facebook over not removing anti-Muslim hate speech

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Muslim Advocates Sue Facebook | Diya TV News

MENLO PARK, Calif. (Diya TV) — Frustrated with what it sees as a lack of progress, a group called Muslim advocates, along with law firm Gupta Wessler, is suing Facebook, claiming the social media giant does not consistently remove all hate speech, especially language that targets followers of Islam.  The group is calling out top executives like Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, demanding the social network start taking anti-Muslim activity more seriously. A Facebook spokesperson says it regularly uses artificial intelligence to remove posts that violate its policies.

“Hugs are back.” That’s what US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy is saying after seeing an increase in Covid-19 vaccinations all across the nation. Murthy says more and more Americans are becoming comfortable getting vaccinated. And by April 19th, all adults will be eligible for the vaccine. The Indian American doctor says this trend is encouraging, but also says there is still lots of work that needs to be done about battling disinformation.

And a big blow to Indian filmmakers.  The Federal government is cutting the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal, which allowed filmmakers to appeal decisions made by the censors, which has the power and authority to ban certain movies for inappropriate content.  Instead, they will now have to go to lawyer up and go straight to court and fight if they disagree.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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