STORY: "The trouble with shaken baby syndrome," by James Ross Gardner, published by Seattle Met on April 1, 2014.

SUB-HEADING: "After three decades and thousands of accusations and fractured lives, medical and legal experts are challenging shaken baby syndrome as a diagnosis. And as one family demonstrates, we can't wait any longer to get it right."

GIST: "The symptoms medical professionals look for, identified via brain scans and basic eye exams, have functioned as a kind of prosecutorial slam dunk for decades. A case analysis issued in 2007 put the conviction rate of those accused of SBS at 95 percent, 90 percent of which resulted in life sentences, notes Deborah Tuerkheimer, a DePaul University law professor and author of the just-published book, Flawed Convictions: “Shaken Baby Syndrome” and the Inertia of InjusticeSBS has been used, Tuerkheimer writes, to establish “each element of the crime charged: that the act of shaking caused the infant’s injury or death; that the shaking was sufficiently violent to evince the mental state required for guilt; and that the person who shook the baby was the defendant.” Put more bluntly, she recently told me, SBS comes “as close as one could imagine to a medical diagnosis of murder.” That’s changing.  A number of reexamined cases in recent years—aided by new technology and debate among medical experts—have put proponents of the SBS hypothesis on the defensive. Ernie Lopez, who was serving a 60-year-sentence for shaking an infant in his care to death, is now free, thanks in part to the work of retired Seattle lawyer Heather Kirkwood. So is Audrey Edmunds, a woman charged with the murder of a child in her care in the 1990s.  Yet even if they’re ultimately absolved of any wrongdoing, those suspected of SBS are left to pick through the debris of their former lives: loss of employment, financial ruin, the stigma of having been labeled a child abuser." 
The entire article can be found at: