August 10, 2014

JUSTICE: ‘Shaken baby’ doubters give cases another look.

The New England Innocence Project is looking at “several” Bay State cases where a person was convicted of murder following a diagnosis of shaken baby syndrome, saying the science behind that conclusion is not sound — the same argument now being made by lawyers for an Irish nanny accused of killing a baby in her care.

“The reason is that the scientific underpinnings of shaken baby syndrome have been called into question,” said Denise McWilliams, executive director of the project. “There’s a good amount of evidence that shaken baby syndrome might, at best, be questionable and it might, at worst, be totally bogus.”

McWilliams would not discuss which cases the Innocence Project was looking at, but said there is a growing chorus of experts nationwide casting doubt on the diagnosis. At issue is whether the injuries normally associated with shaken baby syndrome — brain bleeding, retinal hemorrhaging and brain swelling — can be inflicted without leaving a mark on the child, or harming the child’s neck, which is what is alleged in some cases, she said.

Yeah, these are looking pretty iffy.