Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Jennifer del Prete: Illinois; Justice Kennelly's decision seen as a "turning point" in shaken baby syndrome prosecutions as Wisconsin State Journal reports that challenges to 'shaken baby' convictions are mounting. (Must read. HL);

STORY: "Challenges to 'shaken baby' convictions mounting," by reporter Dee. J. Hall, published by the Wisconsin State Journal on May 25, 2014.

GIST: "In January, a federal judge in Chicago issued a stunning ruling: Shaken baby syndrome as a cause of death has little to no scientific basis. It’s not known what effect the ruling might have on other shaken baby cases, including at least one being appealed in Wisconsin. But one expert called it a “turning point” in the medical-legal debate over whether such injuries were intentionally caused. U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly found that a reasonable person likely would find the medical evidence supporting shaken baby syndrome “unscientific and thus unsupportable. “It appears from the evidence at the hearing,” Kennelly wrote, “that the mechanism by which shaking purportedly causes these sorts of injuries is as yet unclear, assuming it exists at all.” Last month, Kennelly ordered Jennifer Del Prete released from prison after serving 10 years of a 20-year sentence. The 43-year-old mother of two still faces the possibility of returning if the state decides to retry her on allegations that she shook to death an infant she cared for at a Romeoville, Illinois, day care center.........The decision in the Del Prete case is a “turning point” in the effort to cast doubt about shaken baby syndrome and abusive head trauma in children with no external injuries, said Deborah Tuerkheimer, a law professor at DePaul University in Chicago. Tuerkheimer, a former Madison resident, is the author of the just-released book, “Flawed Convictions: ‘Shaken Baby Syndrome’ and the Inertia of Injustice.” She said Kennelly’s ruling likely will be a factor in other appeals. “That should cause other judges that are looking at much the same evidence ... to scrutinize those much more closely,” she said. Tuerkheimer added that cases charging shaken baby syndrome or abusive head trauma “are fewer and far between than they used to be — significantly so.”"

The entire story can be found at:

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