Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Bulletin: 'Shaken baby syndrome'. Medill Innocence Project study: 1,469 cases in 50 states and Guam gathered; Findings "months from now."

RELEASE: "Medill Innocence Project examines shaken baby syndrome cases nationwide: Long-range research to be first U.S. published database," by Mary McGrath, published on September 4, 2012.

GIST: "Over three months, the Medill Innocence Project, which examines potentially wrongful murder convictions, gathered information from 1,469 criminal cases in all 50 states and Guam with the aim of analyzing patterns and trends and to examine the medical and legal dimensions of shaken-baby syndrome cases. After the information is confirmed, database findings will be published months from now in an interactive format so the public can search for information. Among other things, the data will include the official cause of death, the defendant’s relationship to the infant, the experts who testified at trial, as well as other basic case information. The Medill Innocence Project hopes its findings will serve the public, including medical and criminal justice professionals and academics as well as individuals and families affected by shaken-baby syndrome injuries and convictions, Klein said. “There’s a sense of urgency about pursuing these issues, because children are so vulnerable,” said Northwestern University Professor Alec Klein, director of the Medill Innocence Project. Experts say much remains unknown about shaken-baby syndrome, including the number of cases and whether they’re on the rise or decline. It is also unknown how many convictions have been overturned on the basis of new scientific and medical understanding; nations like Britain and Canada have reexamined how the medical establishment considers shaken-baby syndrome cases. The dearth of public information is one reason the Medill Innocence Project has undertaken research on these cases. “If we could do something that could help one child or one caregiver, I think we have done some good,” Klein said.".........But it is especially challenging for the defense to overcome the emotions attached to the tragedy of a child’s injury or death, said Deborah Tuerkheimer, a former New York County assistant district attorney who teaches law at DePaul University in Chicago. In 2009, Tuerkheimer published a controversial paper in the Washington University Law Review, contending the criminal justice system is not keeping up with new scientific discoveries in the United States and abroad. Tuerkheimer said: “Almost implicitly, the defendant is put in the position to defend their innocence.”"

The entire article can be found at:



I am monitoring this study. 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:

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:


Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to: hlevy15@gmail.com

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.