Monday, December 22, 2014

René Bailey, New York State; Last week a judge overturned her shaken-baby syndrome based second-degree murder conviction after hearing evidence that scientific thinking about head injuries like the one the 2 1/2 year-old child suffered had changed dramatically since Bailey's conviction. Now she has been released on house arrest without having to post bail. The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.

STORY: "René Bailey released without bail," by reporter Steve Orr, published by the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle on December 22, 2014.

PHOTO CAPTION:  "Rene Bailey is freed from prison after convicted in 2002 in shaken baby case."

GIST: "René S. Bailey, the Greece day-care operator whose murder conviction was overturned last week by a Monroe County Court judge, was ordered released without bail Monday morning pending further action in her case. Monroe County Court Judge James Piampiano ordered Bailey, 55, confined to her Greece home for the time being but denied a prosecutor's request for $100,000 bond. The Monroe County District Attorney's Office has not decided yet whether to re-try Bailey or appeal Piampiano's decision to vacate her conviction.........Bailey was convicted in 2002 of second-degree murder in the death of 21/2-year-old Brittney Sheets, whom Bailey had been watching in her home day care. Bailey's was one of several dozen local convictions over the last three decades for injuries or deaths of babies and toddlers from "shaken-baby syndrome." Sheets died of a head injury that police, prosecutors and medical experts insisted could only have been caused by abuse at Bailey's hands. Jurors were not swayed by Bailey's testimony that the girl had fallen from a chair and struck her head on the floor. She was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. Bailey argued in court papers she filed herself that her sentence was too harsh, however, and the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court agreed, reducing her sentence to 15 years-to-life in 2004. That made her first eligible for parole in 2017. Several years ago, Bailey, then an inmate at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Westchester County, wrote a letter seeking help from a post-conviction legal clinic at Pace University Law School, which also is in Westchester County. Bernhard, a law professor there who ran the clinic, took up Bailey's case and eventually filed a motion in Monroe County Court asking that the Greece woman's conviction overturned. Bernhard, who now is a professor at New York Law School in Manhattan, argued in a hearing earlier this year before Piampiano that the scientific thinking about head injuries like the one Sheets suffered had changed dramatically since Bailey's conviction. Some researchers and physicians now believe that accidental falls, illness and other factors can cause injuries that previously had been ascribed solely to abuse. Bernhard said that change in scientific thinking constituted new evidence that merited the vacating of Bailey's condition. In a 28-page decision released last week, Piampiano agreed. Lawyers said they believed it was the first time a shaken-baby conviction has been reversed in New York on the basis of new scientific evidence.........The judge told the parties on Monday to return to court Jan. 8 to set a date for a new trial, but lawyers said that action would be postponed or canceled depending on what the district attorney's office chooses to do with the case."

The entire story can be found at:


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