Ms. Tabitha Pollock was <a href="http://www.state.il.us/court/Opinions/AppellateCourt/1999/3rdDistrict/December/HTML/3961077.htm">convicted of first-degree murder</a> and sentenced to 36 years for failing to anticipate that her boyfriend would murder her daughter. The Illinois Supreme Court unanimously overturned Ms. Pollock's conviction, saying the prosecution's theory - that she should have known that her boyfriend, Scott English, who is serving a life sentence, was going to murder her child - has no basis in the law. Ms. Pollock was only released because the <a href="http://www.law.northwestern.edu/depts/clinic/wrongful/History.htm">Northwestern University's Innocence Project</a> took up her appeal. The case <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2002/11/27/national/27MURD.html?pagewanted=all&position=top">raises the question</a> (free NYT registration required) of whether some judges, prosecutors and communities ask too much of mothers and are prepared to punish them, even at the expense of the surviving family, when things go wrong. There are <a href="http://www.qctimes.com/internal.php?story_id=1003569&t=Local+News&c=2,1003569">other similar cases.</a> Here is the scary part. Colleen M. Griffin, an assistant attorney general, said the government was <a href="http://www.qctimes.com/internal.php?story_id=1003674&t=Local+News&c=2,1003674">eager to retry Ms. Pollock under the narrower standard</a>, which requires proof that she actually knew of life-threatening abuse. The concept of negligent first degree murder is preposterous. Given that these women have lost a child, why are the prosecutors chomping at the bit to lock them away? Or am I blind at the obvious?