GIST: A judge has denied a new trial for a Battle Creek man convicted of killing his infant son. Calhoun County Circuit Court Judge Sarah Lincoln issued an opinion Thursday denying a new trial for Shawn Brown, 33, in the death Jan. 24, 2010 of his five-month-old son, Shawn Brown, Jr. Brown was convicted on manslaughter and child abuse charges and is serving a sentence of eight to 30 years in prison. In January attorneys for the Michigan Innocence Clinic at the University of Michigan argued that Brown did not receive a fair trial because his trial attorney did not present a medical expert to refute prosecution testimony that Shawn Brown, Jr. died from being shaken or struck in the head. In her eight-page opinion, Lincoln ruled that Brown's attorneys did not show that Brown's trial attorney was ineffective nor did they establish that Brown was actually innocent. Prosecutors alleged that Brown shook his son on Jan. 22, 2010 and that the baby died two days later from injuries to the brain. But the Innocent Clinic argues that the diagnosis of shaken baby syndrome or abusive head trauma is disputed and that Brown's trial attorney, James Goulooze, did not present an expert to refute the evidence presented by prosecutors. The case is similar to the Calhoun County case of Leo Ackley, who was convicted in 2011 in the death of his girlfriend's 3-year-old daughter. He was convicted of murder but the Michigan Supreme Court overturned that conviction because his attorney did not present an expert. Ackley was tried and convicted a second time in 2016 and is serving a life sentence. Because of the Ackley case and others, judges across the state have concluded that defense attorneys should present experts. In her opinion, Lincoln concluded that Goulooze had unsuccessfully sought a medical opinion which contradicted the shaken baby theory. At the January hearing the attorney testified he consulted with a Lansing pathologist, a doctor in Kentucky and two other forensic pathologists and did his own research at the University of Michigan Medical School library. But was unable to find a witness to refute the finding of a brain injury made by Calhoun County Medical Examiner Dr. Joyce deJong. "While he recognized that there was a potential need for expert testimony," Lincoln wrote, "(Goulooze) was clearly unable at the time . . . to identify an expert who would be favorable to Defendant. Goulooze certainly exercised due diligence in attempting to track down an expert witness; satisfying the requirement that counsel perform reasonably." At the January hearing, Dr. Joseph Scheller, a Baltimore doctor of pediatrics and neurology, testified for the Innocence Clinic that his conclusion after a review of the medical records was there were other explanations for the baby's death than that he was shaken or struck in the head. He called shaken baby syndrome "an idea that is still in flux." In her opinion, Lincoln said, "It is clear that there are some in the medical community who view diagnosis of abusive head trauma in children with suspicion. It is not clear however that this is a mainstream medical opinion. As noted by the People, no less an authority than the Journal of Pediatrics has published that abusive head trauma is 'generally accepted' diagnosis 'by physicians who frequently encounter suspected child abuse cases.'" Lincoln also dismissed the argument that Brown should have a new trial because he claims actual innocence and that justice was not done. She said the standard is to show that no reasonable juror would have found him guilty. In this case, Lincoln said, the jury showed it considered all the evidence because they found Brown guilty of manslaughter and not the original charge of murder. "The verdict suggests that the jury critically weighed the evidence presented by both the People and the defense," Lincoln said, in denying the motion for a new trial.Brown remains in prison at the Alger Correctional Facility in Munising."

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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: 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: Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;