The legal wrangling over the detention of the mother of a missing Columbia boy continued Monday as the 5th Circuit solicitor’s office filed a memo defending the mother’s indictment.
Assistant Solicitor Dolly Justice Garfield argued that the indictment of Zinah Jennings meets the legal requirements under S.C. law. Garfield filed her response Monday afternoon under orders from Richland County Circuit Judge Thomas Cooper.
Last week, Jennings’ attorney, Hemphill Pride II, asked Cooper to toss out the indictment and release his client from jail, because the state had not demonstrated how Jennings allegedly hurt her son, Amir Jennings.
The indictment merely repeats the legal language of the cruelty-to-a-child offense, Pride said. It does not provide any facts as to how Jennings may have hurt her son.
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But Garfield’s response pointed out that the state does not have to hold a hearing to support the merits of an indictment.
A grand jury indicted Zinah Jennings, 23, last month on a cruelty-to-children charge. She has been in jail on a $150,000 bond since Dec. 30.
Amir, who would be 2 years old, has not been seen by his family since Thanksgiving. The indictment alleges that Jennings committed the crime between Nov. 24 to Dec. 24 in Richland County.
Pride has three days to file an answer to the solicitor’s memo. Then, Cooper could issue a written opinion or call both sides into court for oral arguments before making a decision.
Jennings also is awaiting a judge’s decision on whether she can discontinue medication prescribed for a mental illness because she is pregnant. Pride filed a legal motion on her behalf, saying the drug could be harmful to the baby, who is due in August.