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Serving 14-day sentence, inmate forced to deliver baby on jail cell floor: “I’ve been in total shock”

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MACOMB COUNTY, Michigan — A woman who was eight months pregnant ended up giving birth on a jail cell floor in Michigan.

Jessica Preston was pulled over for having a rosary hanging from her rear-view mirror. She was also driving on a suspended license — taken away after she failed to pay a speeding ticket.

Judge Suzanne Faunce gave Preston a $10,000 bond, and sent her to jail for 14 days.

The judge could not comment, but the court administrator said the judge looked not only at the current charge, but all of Preston’s previous court history when determining bond. In the past, she had a record of drug abuse and outstanding warrants for failing to appear in court.

The court administrator said the judge felt it was in the baby’s and mother’s best interests to be locked up — and the judge never imagined Preston wouldn’t be taken to a hospital if she went into labor behind bars.

“They still didn’t want to call an ambulance even though I was bleeding at the time. I’ve been in total shock. I can’t believe I just had my son a month early on a dirty jail cell floor,” Preston said.

Baby Elijah was born on a mat on a cell floor inside the Macomb County Jail. He arrived a month early, and weighed less than five pounds. He was supposed to be delivered via C-section — but only after the birth did mom and baby go to the hospital.

Two-and-a-half days later, Elijah went home with his father, and Preston went back to jail to finish her 14-day sentence.

“It was horrible being separated from my baby. I wasn’t able to breastfeed. I mean, he was so tiny, so little when he was first born that it was agonizing,” Preston said.

The 14-day sentence was Judge Matthew Sabaugh’s decision. He had no comment on the ruling. He does have access to Preston’s entire court file.

Preston said no matter the reason for her incarceration, every inmate deserves to be treated in a medical facility.

“They lack any sort of human decency. Someone just needs to be able to take responsibility and at some point say, ‘OK, enough is enough,'” Preston said.


  • Milly Landers

    This is one of those stories that just won’t go away! I am glad. Why? It shines a glaring light on the justice system The justice system of each city, each county or parish, each state. Our entire country. How does a judge issue warrants against a woman that he knows has no job, no way to pay court fines or a probation officer? Lots of people getting rich off people that are uneducated and living in poverty. I am ashamed of this.

    • John Russell

      But she has money for a car and gas and drugs and a history of not showing up in court? This is a working court system but a failing jail. She deserved jail! And anyone buying she was pulled over for a rosary must be sharing her drugs!!!

    • Casper Voogt

      @ Lawrance Rogers, yes the law is the law and it says inmates in a medical emergency get appropriate medical care.. but it sounds like you believe delivering a premature baby on a mat on a jail cell floor is appropriate. I sure hope I am wrong about that.

  • Ed

    It was the suspended license and her not paying the previous fines that got her in trouble. The rosary on the mirror had little to do with it! Why does this reporter stick up for this lady and try to make her look abused or picked on? Looks to me like she pretty much caused her own problems! Betcha if this reporter’s child was hit & injured by this lady the reporter would be singing a different tune. Laws are not made to pick on people! They’re to protect persons like this reporter from other thoughtless or evil people! And if we quit enforcing laws we’d have a lot more tragedy and injustice than we do now!

    • rocking aunt

      Ed, the rosary hanging from the mirror was just cause to pull her over. Even in WI you cannot have a bunch of dangling stuff hanging from your mirror (obscures vision). A friend of mine was stopped because his air freshener was “blocking/impeding view” last year, even though he has driven for around 10 years at least with an air freshener in the same spot and the same kind. Happened to be the right cop? wrong day? Since he had no other problems, like a suspended license, etc that the lady in the article had, he took care of the issue at hand and told everyone he knew about the obscure law. Basically, to me its a “look and see” law, they stop you for that and look and see what else you got going on. Dug herself on her past. As to why no help at the birth, that needs to be looked into. But alas, had the laws been obeyed from the get-go, she could have had the baby NOT in jail.

      • Daniel W.

        Everything that happend is strictly her own fault. There is no other way to spin it. If she had actly accordingly her entire life, she would not be in this position. Also, whoever wrote this article is complaining about stuff they know nothing about. Paramedics will not transport while birth is in progress. Even in basic first aid, you do not make any attempts to prevent the birth. This woman is a criminal and expects everyone else to show her decency when she had burdened tax papers with her antics. Chances are that child is in for a crappy life paid for by the taxpayers in a fatherless home. Obviously if there was a father, he would have been interviewed. But its clear the dad is delinquent too.

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  • Gerry Blevins

    She didn’t have a fine. She had a $10,000 bail after her HISTORY of not showing up for court dates. Just because she’s pregnant doesn’t mean she should have SPECIAL TREATMENT.

  • Stalwart Prisoner

    Why do people have to post bond for minor offenses? Why do those arrested not have access to the internet prior to conviction?

  • Grapost

    “I just needs to be able to take responsibility and at some point say, ‘OK, IT’S ALL MY FAULT I ENDED UP IN JAIL’”
    She should be blaming herself and not others for her being in that situation in the first place. Everything is always somebody else’s fault according to losers like her.

  • Lisa Pochmara

    I feel like most people commenting are missing the point. She had to give birth on the floor of a jail cell. Regardless of how she got there she didn’t deserve that, and neither did her son. And the fact that she had a c section scheduled means that she or the baby had a health issue that needed to be monitored. I’m pretty sure when she said “Someone just needs to be able to take responsibility and at some point say, ‘OK, enough is enough,’” she meant that people who are in jail deserve to have medical treatment when needed, not that she was blaming someone else for her previous actions.

    • Lana

      Agreed! There usually is a medical concern when one is scheduled to have a c-section. Her crime does not warrant a death sentence (and it could have easily turned into a life-threatening situation) during the delivery. Her child’s life was also compromised and no child deserves that!

    • Dr John

      This is Barbaric and Medically Dangerous, and the Video proves her giving birth on the Floor mat, in a dirty jail cell room. Now no one wants to take responsibility for this abuse. The sheriff and judges are all covering it up and sweeping it under the rug, failing accountability. People need to be fired. The Sheriff, the Judges, the Jail staff, and even the cop who started this all. Cops are OUT OF CONTEROL in this country, and this is another example of the Terrorism.
      Wake up people, this could be you or your family being mistreated by the legal system. This is UNACCEPTABLE.

  • Norm L

    Thank goodness I finally find an article where Sheriff Clarke isn’t being blamed for SOMETHING. Every day he’s blamed for things he doesn’t even have jurisdiction over and people end up going “Say what??” Like how he is responsible from everything that happens under Police Chief Flynn or that the county board of Milwaukee is actually responsible for. Few people who hate on him have even enough brains to fact check stories and find out some things he’s blamed for he doesn’t even have any say in how they are done or run.

    Now about this story: Had she told enough lies to cause anyone to think she was lying that she was about to give birth? Since she had a suspended license, fines, and a drug history, it would be just cause for them to also think she could be driving drunk or drugged, in which case the baby was actually SAFER in the JAIL than in a car anywhere with her! Hopefully now she and the baby can get HELP so that the baby’s future will be SAFER. But like I said, SAFER they do something about her for the sake of her BABY rather than just leave things alone. He would have actually been safer in a jail than in a car with her under drugs and/or a suspended license. Can you imagine if she went into labor while driving? Or if she was drunk or drugged and no one pulled her over?? Now at least that baby has a CHANCE!

  • Veronica Niechajczyk

    That is one old lady voice coming out of a fairly young woman. I’m guessing that’s from drinking. What a waste of pretty young lady.

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