Thursday, July 26, 2012

Bulletin: Illinois Richard Britts: Father's acquittal is latest case calling "Shaken Baby Syndrome" into question. Illinois Times.

STORY: "Springfield father cleared of shaking infant daughter: Three-month-old recovered after apparent seizure," by reporter Patrick Yeagle, published in the Illinois Times on July 27, 2012.

GIST: "Richard Britts of Springfield told the police again and again that he never harmed his then three-month-old daughter, Saniya. “Right now, I know all fingers are pointing at me, man, but I love my baby,” Britts told police in a January 2010 interview. “I would never hurt her like this, man.” A jury last week found Britts not guilty on two counts of aggravated battery to a child, two years after he was arrested on suspicion of shaking his daughter. Britts found Saniya, now two years old, unresponsive and limp in her crib in 2010, and brain scans showed bleeding on Saniya’s brain, prompting charges against Britts. It’s the latest case calling into question “shaken baby syndrome” – a triad of symptoms that some doctors say can only be caused by violent shaking. Other doctors, however, say existing medical problems can cause the same symptoms, casting doubt on a diagnosis that has landed several people nationwide behind bars.........At Britts’ trial, jurors heard testimony from doctors with opposing views about what caused Saniya’s medical condition. Dr. Channing Petrak, a pediatrician at OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria, testified that Saniya must have been shaken – and possibly hit – to explain the bleeding on her brain. But Dr. John Plunkett, a retired pathologist from Minnesota who studies cases involving allegations of baby shaking, testified that the child apparently suffered a seizure. Deborah Tuerkheimer, a law professor at DePaul University in Chicago, says she may include Britt’s case in an upcoming book examining shaken baby syndrome in the legal system. Tuerkheimer says the case shows juries are beginning to question shaken baby diagnoses." “It’s still pretty arbitrary how these cases are coming out,” Tuerkheimer said. “In general, we’re observing a trend toward greater skepticism.”"
The entire story can be found at:


I am monitoring this case. 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:

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Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.