With Elizabeth Holmes not getting her wish to escape jail time on Friday, lawyers for the pregnant Theranos fraudster said she faced the “terrifying prospect” of being an incarcerated mother, forced to say goodbye to a much adored toddler son and baby. she could be separated shortly after giving birth.
After the visibly pregnant Holmes burst into tears on Friday saying, “I regret my failures with every cell in my body,” US District Judge Edward Davila sentenced her to 11.25 years in federal prison.
Holmes, 38, continued to cry as she was surrounded by her partner, Billy Evans, and other family members after Davila told her of her fate – as well as the fate of her children, including her 15 month old son. The judge gave him a date of April 27 to go to federal prison. Although Holmes and Evans did not reveal her due date, reporters at the San Jose courthouse said she appeared to be six or seven months old. This means that she should be able to give birth to her second child before having to be separated from the two children for the next decade, at the end of which they will both be pre-teens.
Holmes’ attorneys have argued that the “loving and devoted mother and partner” should not have to serve time in federal prison or should, at most, only be sentenced to a maximum of 18 months. The Stanford dropout was found guilty by a jury in January of defrauding investors of his now-defunct Palo Alto blood testing startup out of more than $144 million. Federal prosecutors, calling her a remorseless liar and calling her scheme one of the worst white-collar crimes Silicon Valley has ever seen, asked her to go to prison for 15 years. Probation officers had recommended a nine-year sentence.
With Davila opting for a sentence closer to what prosecutors wanted, Holmes, who would be a working mother, now has to live with the agony of leaving her children behind.
For Holmes, being locked up means she won’t be able to greet her 15-month-old child kindly when she takes him out of the crib in the morning, as his partner Evans recounted in the sentencing note his lawyers submitted to the court this the week. She and Evans also won’t be able to hold their baby boy while they dance around the kitchen and give him “doubles” – kisses on both sides of the cheek. Holmes will also miss rocking his son to sleep at night, singing “Amazing Grace.”
Evans explained her fears of her being imprisoned: “My heart is broken at the thought of spending days away from Liz, for a future in which my son grows up with a relationship with his mother on the other side of the wired glass by guards. ”
Despite Evans’ pleas for clemency, many trial observers were unmoved by Holmes’ fate as a soon-to-be incarcerated mother. People on social media said poor women of color generally cannot rely on the public, the courts or the media to care about their pain when separated from their children.
Many have also questioned the timing of Holmes’ two pregnancies, with some questioning, cynically, whether she planned them to drum up sympathy for her trial and/or conviction. Others questioned why a woman who claims to be a loving mother would get pregnant after being convicted of crimes that could have separated her children for up to 20 years.
“Elizabeth Holmes doesn’t care about anyone but herself”, a person
. “If she had, she wouldn’t have gotten pregnant not once but 2x as the pending prison sentence loomed. It is not thinking about the best interests of his children. She must go to jail. It’s a fraud.
Elizabeth Holmes doesn’t care about anyone other than herself. If she did she would not have gotten pregnant not once but 2x while pending prison sentence was looming. That’s not thinking of the best interest of her kids. She needs to go to jail. She’s a Fraud.— Landon (@Ivylgeexec) November 18, 2022
Women who have previously been incarcerated told this news agency in January that they faced limited opportunities for visits and physical contact with their children. Visits with their children took place in a crowded institutional setting – usually after they had to submit to strip searches. They also had to wait in long queues for a public telephone to call their children.
“You can’t mother from a payphone,” Danielle Metz, who served time at the Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin after being convicted of distributing cocaine, told this news agency in January. During the 23 years of her incarceration, Metz missed her daily child-rearing moments: taking her children to school, soothing them when they were sick, or encouraging them in their many accomplishments.
With the April surrender date, Holmes will not need to complete her pregnancy and give birth in prison. Legal experts have also said she is likely to appeal her case to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which could further delay her jail filing date.
If she could not have postponed her surrender to prison after the birth of her baby, the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) offers two residential programs for mothers and their newborns. Women report before giving birth and are allowed to reside with their babies. However, none of the programs are located in California. One is also limited to a stay of six months and the other to 30 months.
Andrea James, who heads the National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls, told this news agency she was “on the verge of madness” from postpartum depression when she died. returned to serve two years in federal prison in Danbury, Connecticut, in 2010, six months after giving birth to the youngest of her four children.
“It was like a kick in the stomach to be separated from my son,” said James, a former Boston-area attorney who was convicted of wire fraud. “This child does not understand, this infant who was in your body and slept against you and breastfed. You are there one day and the next day you are gone.
James and other women also illustrated the lifelong trauma children can experience when they lose close and regular proximity to their primary caregiver at crucial times in their physical and emotional development. They cited extensive research showing that having a parent incarcerated is an ‘adverse’ event for a child, which can lead to depression, anxiety, aggression and an increased risk of problems at school and school. involvement in the criminal justice system.
At best, Holmes can hope that she will be imprisoned close enough to the Bay Area that Evans or other family members can bring her children for regular visits. The opportunity for regular visits is often not available to poor women of color serving their sentences, James and others add.
As a non-violent offender, Holmes may end up in Dublin Federal Institution as the BOP tries to house prisoners within 500 miles of their homes, said Holli Coulman, a prison consultant who served a sentence in a federal prison. organization. Ideally, Holmes might be able to see her kids for several hours once or twice a week, Coulman said.
Metz said she remembered a toy area at the Dublin facility where she could sit with her children when they came to visit. However, visits were often stressful. She remembers many cries of upset children having to leave their mother.
“You know, at 3 and 7, it was hard to explain my pain to them,” said Metz, who won clemency from President Obama in 2016 and is the director of clemency for the James National Council. “Even as he ages, he Was it hard to explain why I wasn’t going home with them and if not, when would I come with them? »
This story has been updated.
. Elizabeth Holmes does face a separation terrifying her babies prison