Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Rethinking shaken baby syndrome

Frontline tonight covered a topic near and dear to my heart. They examined the growing suspicion about those convictions achieved under the theory of Shaken Baby Syndrome. Ok, so technically I haven't watched it yet. I got distracted and forgot to watch it. And by distracted, I mean I was sitting outside on my hammock with a beer and my dog. (Everyone should buy a hammock before dying. You will not regret it.) But I set the DVR to record the replay.

Anyway, I encourage all of you to watch it, and do your own research into these "shaken baby" cases. Fortunately, I have never had to handle one of these cases where a baby mysteriously dies and someone must be found to be responsible. I can't imagine the heartbreak of first losing a child and then being accused of causing that child's death. The defense bar has always been suspicious of shaken baby syndrome, but nobody much pays attention when it's just defense lawyers complaining about convictions. Finally, though, there is starting to be some real movement in the medical community towards acknowledging that shaken baby syndrome might not be what those who first came up with it thought it was. That the injuries associated with sbs can be caused by far less force than they had thought.

Of course, some people actually do abuse children, even to the point of death. But sometimes tragedies happen and no one is to blame. We need to be very careful not to confuse the two categories of cases. So the more light medical experts can shed on shaken baby syndrome, the better.

1 comment:

Miss Conduct PDX said...

Also, check out the NPR segments and ProPublica's investigation here: http://www.propublica.org/topic/post-mortem

See if you can spot where the jury totally, Totally, TOTALLY screws up the presumption of innocence.

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