STORY: "Men accused of killing toddlers say Shaken Baby Syndrome should be on trial, not them," by reporter Kristine Guerra, published by The Washington Post on October 14, 2016.' (Kristine Guerra is a general assignment reporter for The Washington Post.)
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GIST: "The contentious debate over Shaken Baby Syndrome has moved to the courtroom in Michigan, where two men accused of killing toddlers are questioning the reliability of the diagnosis. Leo Ackley and Anthony Ball are separately charged with felony murder and first-degree child abuse for the deaths of their girlfriend's daughters. Attorneys for the men have teamed up to try to prove that the murder cases against Ackley and Ball are the results of overzealous prosecution based on the flawed science of Shaken Baby Syndrome. Prosecutors, however, say the defense teams are glossing over years of scientific research supporting the validity of Shaken Baby Syndrome. Attorneys for the two men said medical experts have relied on three injuries to reach the conclusion that both victims were violently shaken: bleeding behind the eyes, bleeding on the surface of the brain, and brain swelling. Those injuries alone, defense attorneys said, are not sufficient to prove that the toddlers were abused. "Nobody is absolutely and medically certain or scientifically certain what produces that triad of injuries and what type of force is necessary to produce those injuries," Ball's attorney, Kimberly Schroder, told The Washington Post. "The triad alone is not sufficient." The defense attorneys also believe that there are alternate explanations to the children's deaths. In Ball's case, Schroder said the child was involved in a car accident a few days before she died. In Ackley's case, an expert witness will testify that the child's injury was old and that she was nauseous a week before she was found unresponsive, attorney Andrew Rodenhouse said. What caused the injury, Rodenhouse said, is unknown. Ackley was convicted and sentenced to prison in 2012 for the death of 2-year-old Baylee Stenman. The Michigan Supreme Court overturned his convictions and ordered a new trial last year because his former defense attorney failed to provide witnesses to challenge the testimonies of the prosecution's experts. His second trial began this week in Calhoun County, Mich. Ball was charged in 2014 in the death of his fiancee's 20-month-old daughter, Athena Ramey. His trial is scheduled to start next week in the same courtroom as Ackley's trial........In court records, prosecutors used the term "abusive head trauma," which has been used interchangeably in the medical community with Shaken Baby Syndrome. Schroder, the defense attorney, said the terminology doesn't matter much. "The bottom line is not so much the term; it's the triad of injuries that when medical professionals and prosecutors see those, they have a knee-jerk reaction and presume it's homicide," she said. The arguments brewing in the Michigan courtroom reflect the debate that has divided the medical community.........Shaken Baby Syndrome was and still is a hypothesis, not proven science, said Moran of the Michigan Innocence Clinic. "The hypothesis is that if you see these particular signs, you can diagnose that the baby was violently shaken," Moran said. "But there are cases where babies have been observed falling, accidents at home, short falls at the playground, that produce these exact same injuries." What's needed now, Moran said, is an impartial scientific body that will review the literature on Shaken Baby Syndrome and determine whether the hypothesis is correct.
The entire story can be found at:
See WWMT (October 13, 2016) story - on the Michigan Supreme Court decision that the two cases can proceed - at the link below: "The Michigan Supreme Court has ruled in the case of two Calhoun County men accused of killing two toddlers. Leo Ackley and Anthony Ball's attorneys wanted to put a pause on proceedings in their murder cases. Instead, the Michigan Supreme Court has ruled the cases can proceed."
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at: http://www.thestar.com/topic/
Harold Levy. Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.