Unknowingly inheriting and then passing on genetic defects to an offspring are not criminal acts.
My new blog page devoted solely to the Daily Coverage of the Hang Bin Li trial. Read about it in this link: Daily Trial Coverage of #HangBinLi #ShakenBabySyndrome Case.
Neuropathologist Dr. Waney Squier was once a big believer in SBS, but she discovered that at least half of all parents tried over Shaken Baby Syndrome have been wrongfully convicted. She has made a big U-turn in her career to testify for the Defense (aka: the wrongfully accused/convicted parents).
On Jan 9, 2013 Hollywood actress Katie Holmes was sighted at the Hang Bin Li trial to support her prosecutor friend Leigh Bishop (full name: Pamela Leigh Taub Bishop). Ever since Katie Holmes got involved with the couch-jumping weirdo, Scientologist Tom Cruise, I thought Holmes lost her mind. So Katie Holmes’ dubious friendship with Leigh Bishop doesn’t surprise me one bit. Prosecutor Leigh Bishop’s judgement was seriously critized by Judge Gregory Lasak in Sept 2012 over her exceptionally lenient plea deal to a murder defendant called Allen Shannon.
For inquiries, please contact Michael Chu (the travel agent and local community advocate as mentioned by the New York Times article below). Michael Chu (917) 767-0631， E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org . Donate money to support the Li family to pay for legal and medical/genetic experts expenses for this court case. Make your check payable to: Helen Meizhen Zhou ACF Angela Nianni Li. Mail the check to: Hangbin Li and Ying Li Rescue Committee, c/o Flushing Neighborhood Watch Team, 135-25A 40th Road, 3rd Floor, Flushing , New York 11354. Or you can deposit donation directly to Citibank. The Citibank account name: Helen Meizhen Zhou ACF Angela Nianni Li and the Citibank account number: 9994084351
Read the New York Times coverage about the Hang Bin Li and Ying Li case on January 15, 2012 (NY Times is the FIRST English media to interview Hang Bin Li and Ying Li in Rikers Island), March 29, 2012 (Ying Li out of Rikers Island detention center on much reduced bail after DNA testings confirmed genetic brittle bone disorder in the deceased infant), October 24, 2012 (Hang Bin Li rejected plea deal, choosing trial to clear his name), January 2, 2013 (Prosecutor dropped ALL charges against Ying Li voluntarily with NO strings attached. One charge dropped against Hang Bin Li but he still faces jury trial in January 2013 for the felony murder in the second degree charge).
Per the UK Mirror News, criminal charges against Chris and Julia Norton in the UK were dropped after DNA testings confirmed their then-10-week-old son Harry was diagnosed with Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI), a brittle bone condition where a light touch could snap his bones.
Neuropathologist Dr. Waney Squier was once a big believer in SBS, but she discovered that at least half of all parents tried over Shaken Baby Syndrome have been wrongfully convicted. She has made a big U-turn in her career to testify for the Defense (aka: the wrongfully accused/convicted parents).
Read about the horrible Shaken Baby Syndrome Myth in this very comprehensive website.
Read law professor Deborah Tuerkheimer’s article “The Next Innocence Project: Shaken Baby Syndrome and the Criminal Courts“.
To all the prosecutors and doctors who wrongfully accuse parents and caretakers for Shaken Baby Syndrome, bad karma will catch up with you one day. See my prior analysis on famous people who go through 10-year karma cycle. Don’t ever think the sh*t you do are not being noted and recorded by the Higher Authority in the Sky who will exact punishment on you when it’s your time. Read about the 10-year Karma cycle on Lance Armstrong, Hosni Mubarak, Muammar Gaddafi, Donald Manes and John Gotti in particular.
TRIAL DATES: Each business day (except Fridays) from Wed, Jan 9 to February 8, 2013. NOTE: The court will be closed on January 21 for a US Holiday – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
COURT CASE#: 00603-2008 (Judge: Richard Buchter, Prosecutor: Leigh Bishop)
LOCATION: Queens County Supreme Court (Criminal Term) at 125-01 Queens Boulevard, Kew Gardens, NY 11415. By Subway – The “E” and “F” trains stop at Union Turnpike station. The Courthouse is located one block East on Queens Boulevard. By Bus – The Q46 and Q60 bus lines stop near the Courthouse.
: [NOTE: Sing Tao Daily did not cover the final day of jury selection, the belated update from Ming Pao News is in blue-colored fonts.] Per Ming Pao Daily and Chinese World Journal, the remaining 10 jurors (6 jurors plus 4 alternates) were selected on Jan 7. The prosecution is spending substantial taxpayer dollars to summon about a dozen prosecution witnesses including SBS (Shaken Baby Syndrome) experts from Rhode Island and Johns Hopkins University, medical experts in Osteogenesis Imperfecta, and pathologists, besides the police and the ER doctors at Flushing Hospital. Ming Pao Daily noted that the prosecution is using legal means to find a good friend of Hang Bin Li who was the same friend who went to the Lis’ home to take Baby Annie to the hospital on that day. However, this friend has since moved to Canada. For undisclosed reason, this friend could no longer travel to the US (My CF’s pure guess: perhaps this friend had trouble with the law in the US before, hence he is not legally permitted to enter the US border). Michael Chu said this friend gave NEUTRAL statements when he was questioned by the prosecutors about the day of the incidence. Chu is wondering if this friend will somehow deviate from his originally NEUTRAL statement if the prosecution took the trouble to exercise legal means to get him entry and access to the US to testify. Lawyer for Ying Li has obtained the dismissal papers to reclaim Ying Li’s passport so that she has identification to visit Hangbin Li at Rikers for the VERY FIRST time. Ying Li will go to the Family Court on January 15 to gain custody (for the VERY FIRST time) of her 4-yr-old daughter Angela Nianni Li. Ying Li was about 2 months pregnant with Angela when she was arrested in March 2008, she was temporarily transported to Elmhurst Hospital in locked chains to give birth to Angela in late October 2008. Soon after giving birth to Angela, the newborn baby was taken away from Ying Li.
Also, I thank Jeremy Praay for sending me a YouTube video about Osteogenesis Imperfecta, he believes if the diagnosis of Osteogenesis Imperfecta was caught around the time Baby Annie Li died in the hospital, the infant’s parents Hang Bin and Ying Li may not have to face child abuse death accusations.
: Per Sing Tao Daily, Ming Pao Daily and Chinese World Journal, six members of the jury have been selected on Jan 3 for the Shaken Baby death (with big battle of Medical/Genetic Science) trial. The remaining 6 jurors plus alternates will be selected on Jan 7 and 8. The Shaken Baby and big battle of Medical/Genetic Science trial date is set to begin on Wed Jan 9, 2013. Just to clarify on earlier news: on Jan 2, 2013 Ying Li adamently refused the Queens County prosecutors’ request to plead guilty to lesser misdemeanor charges or to provide statements that may incriminate her husband Hang Bin Li in exchange for dismissal of all charges against her. Her position is that neither she nor her husband did anything wrong, therefore she refuses to yield to the prosecutors’ unreasonable requests. After some discussions, the prosecutors decided to dismiss all charges against her unconditionally (with NO strings attached). Therefore, Ying Li is now waiting for the dismissal papers in order to ask the Family Court judge to grant her custody of her 4-year-old daughter Angela Nianni Li. Her husband Hang Bin Li is still facing homicide trial over the death of their infant daughter Baby Annie Li who was confirmed with a genetic brittle bone disorder called Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI). Hang Bin Li is confirmed to be a genetic carrier of this defective OI gene.
: Per NY Times and NY Post articles dated Jan 2, all charges against Ying Li have been dismissed in Queens County Criminal Court in New York today. Her husband Hang Bin Li still faces homicide trial over the death of his infant daughter, eventhough the deceased infant’s DNA testings confirmed that she had genetic bone disorder called Osteogenesis Imperfecta. Jury selection will begin tomorrow (Thurs, Jan 3, 2013). I hope the Family Court judge will soon grant Ying Li custody of her 4-year-old youngest daughter, Angela Nianni Li. After Ying Li was granted bail (bail reduced from $250,000 to $10,000) in March 2012, she was only allowed to see her 4-year-old daughter Angela for only a few hours per week under the watchful eyes of ACS workers. If you can read Chinese, see the Jan 3, 2013 coverage in Sing Tao Daily (photo of Ying Li all smile with her defense attorney Murray Singer), and Sing Tao Daily interview with Michael Chu (photo of Ying Li and supporters smiling), in Ming Pao Daily (once again, I’m told Ming Pao Daily did an excellent detailed coverage of this case. Kudos to the reporters at Ming Pao Daily) and Chinese World Journal (with photos of Ying Li and supporters all smile), Chinese World Journal interview with Michael Chu who is a Flushing community activist and with Ying Li.
I just saw Flushing community advocate Michael Chu leaving the following comment on this blog, I am presenting it here in its entirety.
Shaken Baby Syndrome Accusations: A Modern Day Witch Hunt?
Abuse of children is a real problem. People who commit the crime deserve the full fury of law. However, it is very important that evidence based science instead of the old SBS dogma be used in distinguishing cases where abuse actually occurs as opposed to trauma occurring for other reasons. In the Li’s case, 5 months after the passing away of their beloved daughter Annie, and still in deep bereavement over the loss of their beloved child, Hangbin and Ying were incarcerated, not knowing why.
Last month (October), which is almost 5 years after their initial incarceration, Hangbin was offered a plea bargain which was really tempting. This poor young man was offered the choice of immediate freedom at the price of his innocence. The mental torture he suffered was inhumane. “To be or not to be, that is the question.” He called family members, supporters and friends for advice. He asked me and my wife,: “If I were your son, what would you tell me?” We cried. Oh God, what this man has suffered I would not wish my worst enemy to go through.
Finally, Hang Bin made a decision. While he almost ended up accepting the offer, a sudden idea struck him. As a victim of false SBS allegations, he felt that no one else should suffer as he did. From various literatures, he had learned that the number of people who have been wrongly accused of SBS is far more than he imagined. He started to ask himself these questions: Does this (false allegation/conviction) have to go on and on? Why do I have to admit to something I did not do? Do innocent people have to be accused and convicted of something they have not done and do nothing about it? On top of that, he has already lost Annie; he can’t afford to lose Ying and his second daughter Angela (he will be deported when the court releases him if he admits to any charge against him). They are the love of his life.
Baby Annie was born with mutated gene and had spent her first few days in the NICU. In a DNA test done on Annie’s tissue a couple of months back, defective gene relating to OI (Osteogenesis Imperfecta) had been detected. “ It would be important to understand other inherited conditions in Annie’s family that might have created a situation that looked like shaken baby syndrome but was in fact, attributed to something else,” said Dr. Sessions Cole, director of newborn medicine at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
If one would just spend some time researching the SBS literature and talk to the wrongly accused in depth, he/she will be taken aback at the absurdity of the triad based SBS assumptions which the prosecutors resorted to in the conviction of many parents/caregivers. You can’t help but ask one question again and again: Given the wide array of solid scientific research that questions the validity of SBS theory, why does the judicial system still choose to turn a deaf ear to evidence based science? Even former supporters of the SBS theory such as the renowned Dr. Norman Guthkelch and Dr. Patrick Barnes, are now advising caution before choosing a SBS diagnosis. Dr. Guthkelch is credited with founding the syndrome in 1971.
How can the criminal justice system and law enforcement officers, hold high the banner of justice on one hand, but on the other, refuse to look at truth? How many ears must one law officer have before he can hear innocent people cry? How many wrongful imprisonments will it take till he knows that too many people have been falsely convicted? This is a very serious question that every concerned citizen should think about. The protection of children is a measure of society’s progress. There are people who abuse children. They should be given the gravest penalty that the law allows. But do we have the right to punish the innocent just because we know that there are heinous child abusers out there so that scarifying the innocent can be justified in the name of protecting children? A humanistic society should not allow that.
We need a rigid diagnostic protocol to be applied to SBS cases to prevent medical professionals from jumping to conclusions as soon as they see the 3 symptoms of shaken baby syndrome. Dr. Guthkelch says it’s time to get all interested parties together to get them to agree on what can be said with scientific certainty about shaken baby syndrome. How much longer do we have to wait until this is accomplished? The sword of Damocles could fall on anyone as long as the triad based diagnosis is allowed to reign supreme.
Hangbin & Ying Li Rescue Committee/Michael Chu
Contact Michael Chu (the travel agent and local community advocate as mentioned by the New York Times article below). Michael Chu is also involved in Flushing Neighborhood Watch Team. Michael Chu (917) 767-0631， E-mail: email@example.com
Donation by check, make the check payable to:
Helen Meizhen Zhou ACF Angela Nianni Li
The mailing address is:
Flushing Neighborhood Watch Team
Attn: Hangbin Li and Ying Li Rescue Committee
135-25A 40th Road, 3F
Flushing , New York 11354
(NOTE: ACF stands for Acting as Custodian For. Aunt Helen Zhou is the current guardian of the younger sister of Baby Annie who is called Angela Nianni Li (4-years-old, born October 2008). Aunt Zhou has been raising the 4-year-old Angela Nianni Li since her parents are unable to post $500,000 bail ($250,000 each), they have been locked up in Rikers Island jail for about 4 years so far. On March 28, 2012, the mother was released on a much reduced $10,000 bail because the genetic test results show that Baby Annie indeed HAD genetic defects and she was NOT a healthy baby to begin with.
Deposit at Citibank account for:
Name on the bank account: Helen Meizhen Zhou ACF Angela Nianni Li
Citibank account number: 9994084351
Per Ming Pao Daily and Sing Tao Daily, the reporters from the 2 news organizations went to Rikers Island Detention Center to visit Hangbin Li yesterday. My CF says the news is too heart-breaking, will have English translations later. The interview at Rikers Island reveals the decision-making process and the heart-breaking reason why Hangbin Li rejected the “much sweetened” plea deal, and decided to testify and be cross-examined in a jury trial. Meanwhile, the Chinese World Journal decided to be lazy and skipped the follow-up news altogether. This trial has been delayed so many times. Will the Jury Selection on Monday Oct 29 be delayed by Hurricane Sandy (aka: Frankenstorm)? We will see.
Per Ming Pao Daily, Sing Tao Daily and World Journal, the vital information is that Hangbin Li has rejected another “revised” plea “deal” from the prosecutors on Oct 24. For news coverage in English, the New York Times published the Oct 24 court meeting. [NOTE: Full translation to English will come a bit later. My CF says all 3 NYC-Chinese newspapers reported lots of materials today, still need time to digest the info before fully translating them]
Per Ming Pao Daily and Sing Tao Daily, prosecutors Leigh Bishop and the Bureau Chief Marjory Fisher halted the jury selection and threw in another last-minute “revised” plea deal to Hangbin Li and Ying Li. The Li couple previously rejected the plea “deal” which wasn’t much of a “deal” at all. And they are in fighting spirits to clear their name in a jury trial. Judge Richard Buchter is giving the Li couple until Wednesday Oct 24, 2012 to either accept or reject the “revised” and confidential plea deal. If the Li couple reject this “revised” plea deal, Judge Buchter will start jury selection next Monday Oct 29, 2012. There were about a dozen supporters of the Li family showing up in court meeting yesterday, asking the Judge for a fair trial. My take: the Queens County prosecutors are afraid of losing this Shaken Baby court case which has attracted so much media attention, and then opening a big can of worms totally undermining their credibility in similar Shaken Baby cases. This court case is likely to become a textbook case forcing so-called experts and pundits to finally acknowledge genetic defects as a possible cause of death in infants and young children, rather than “automatic kneejerk assumption” that they died of child abuse.
Per Ming Pao Daily (at the bottom right corner of the page) and Sing Tao Daily, the jury selection date is delayed again to next Monday, Oct 22 due to defense lawyer Murray Singer’s inability to attend the court meeting yesterday to take care of bereavement matters in the family. About a dozen people from the community attended the court meeting yesterday in support of the Li family, they plan to organize bus rides to listen to the trial in a group. Most of them plan to take time off from work to attend the trial, because they believe there are overwhelming evidence that Baby Annie died from genetic defects rather than child abuse. Mother Ying Li is hoping that the judge in Family Court will allow her to visit her youngest and only daughter Angela Nianni Li at the end of October to celebrate her 4th birthday. Currently, Ying Li is only allowed to visit her daughter Angela for 4 hours per week in the presence of ACS workers.
As expected, Hangbin Li rejected the last-minute plea deal?!?! offer from the prosecutors. He finds no reason to admit guilt to a “crime” he did not commit. Judge Richard Buchter pushed the Jury Selection date to Monday, Oct 15, 2012. Defense attorney Cedric Ashley estimates that after Jury Selection is completed, the trial itself will take about 6 weeks to complete.
On Oct 1, 2012 the originally scheduled Jury Selection was postponed because the prosecutors Leigh Bishop and the Bureau Chief Marjory Fisher threw in a plea “deal”?!?! to Hangbin Li. It’s not much of a plea “deal”?!?! if Hangbin Li will lose custody of his youngest and only child Angela Nianni Li (4-yrs-old) and face deportation back to the Communist regime in China after pleading guilty to lesser charges to a “crime” he did not commit. Angela Nianni Li is a U.S. citizen by birth rights, her mother Ying Li has green card – legally allowed to live in America. Hangbin Li is said to be in fighting spirits against the charges per Ming Pao News and Sing Tao Daily. The prosecutors and the defense team will meet with judge Richard Buchter on Thursday, Oct 4, 2012 about their decisions: acceptance or rejection of the plea “deal”?!?!. Meanwhile, the prosecutor Leigh Bishop, her direct boss in the Bureau Marjory Fisher supposedly met with their big boss the Queens DA Richard Brown on Tuesday Oct 2, 2012 about the plea deal and about the case overall. The trial will start afterward. The World Journal also had news report on this case, though Ming Pao News and Sing Tao Daily did better jobs, per my CF.
Per Singtao News and Chinese World Journal, Ying Li and community advocate Michael Chu held a press conference on Sept 3, 2012 asking for help in donation and informing the public that Hangbin Li is diagnosed with gastric ulcer while being held at Rikers Island detention center since 2008. Hangbin Li will be scheduled for surgery pending approval from Rikers Island detention center. After spending money on legal fees, the $10,000 bail money for Ying Li, and DNA testings on the remains of Baby Annie, her parents, and her younger sister Angela Nianni Li, they only have about $8,000 left in the bank account. But they still need to raise money to hire three genetic/medical experts to testify in court. The jury selection should begin on Oct 1, 2012.
According to Singtao News, judge Richard Buchter announced that the case will enter the jury selection and trial stage starting on Monday, Oct 1, 2012. Genetic experts and witnesses will be called to the trial to testify. The defense attorneys said this case will involve big debate in genetic science. Defense attorney Cedric Ashley who had a scheduling conflict was not present on this 7/31 pre-trial hearing. Public defender Murray Singer advised Ying Li to gather all the evidence and witnesses in preparation for the trial in October. In addition, American geneticists are performing DNA/genetic testing on the Chinese couple’s second daughter 4-year-old Angela Nianni Li to look for possible latent or passive OI genetic defect. The Chinese geneticists have performed DNA/genetic testings on Ying Li’s mother, sisters and aunts for the OI defective genes. The Chinese World Journal also published the court date in much less details (lazy journalism, according to my Chinese friend) than Singtao News.
According to Singtao News, judge Gregory Lasak announced at the court meeting on July 19 that the case is being transferred to judge Richard Buchter who has experience presiding over court cases related to Shaken Baby Syndrome and familiarity with cases involving the use of medical/genetic evidence. The court is adjourning the case to Monday, July 30 for pre-trial hearing after 4 long years. The case is expected to enter the jury selection and trial stage in September. The defense attorneys Cedric Ashley and Murray Singer said they are no longer negotiating with the prosecution to get any plea deals, or get bail for Hangbin Li who is held in Rikers Island jail for 4 years. Both Hangbin Li and Ying Li (the parents of deceased Baby Annie Li) are determined to fight in court to clear their names for a “crime” they did not commit. Also provided here are news from Ming Pao News (at the right-hand side of the page) and Chinese World Journal.
According to Ming Pao News in New York City (see the upper right-hand corner of the news link written in Chinese), the Queens County prosecutor is offering Hangbin Li (the father) to plead a much lesser charge of “Endangering the Welfare of a Child” in exchange for a lesser sentencing after the more complete DNA/genetic testing results of Hangbin Li and Baby Annie are released this month. Note that this is a significant downgrade from the felony charges of Second Degree Murder to merely Endangering the Welfare of a Child. Hangbin Li categorically refuses to take the plead “deal” for a crime he did not commit. Judge Gregory Lasak at the Queens County Criminal Court adjourned the case to Thursday, July 19, 2012. The defense lawyer Cedric Ashley (representing Hangbin Li) and public defender Murray Singer (representing Ying Li) believe that if the prosecution is reluctant to drop all charges against the young parents, the jury trial may begin in September. They believe the prosecution will have a difficult time convincing the 12-member jury beyond a reasonable doubt that Hangbin Li murdered his child, because the multiple DNA/genetic testing results overwhelmingly point to the Osteogenesis Imperfecta genetic defects in both the father (Hangbin Li) and his deceased daughter (Baby Annie Li). There are substantial doubts that Baby Annie died from child abuse, because the DNA/genetic testing results show that she inherited the defective genes called Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI) which is a genetic disorder characterized by bones that can break easily, often from little or no apparent cause, or the genetically mutated version of OI from her parent. The defense lawyers want to request a new judge be assigned to this case, the decision for the new judge may be decided in the next court meeting in July 19. Singtao News added that Hangbin Li, who has been held without bail in Rikers Island jail for 4 years, is still denied bail after yesterday’s court meeting. The defense lawyer Cedric Ashley said all medical testings have been completed, he expects the case to move to jury trial in September. My Chinese friend says Ming Pao News did an excellent job covering yesterday’s court meeting providing the main points and details, Singtao News did a decent job reporting the same meeting, but the Chinese World Journal did a sloppy job covering the same meeting. I am providing links (in orange color) for anyone who can read Chinese to decide on the quality of the reporting.
According to Singtao News and Chinese World Journal, the Fukien (Fujian) Benevolent Association of America and the Chang Le American Association in NYC Chinatown have helped raised money for Hangbin Li and Ying Li. The Li couple both grew up in a town called Chang Le in the Fujian province in China. Ying Li personally came to thank the support from the community. Reminder: the next court date will be Tuesday, June 26, 2012 at the Queens Criminal Court. On that date, the additional genetic/DNA testing results of Baby Annie and Hangbin Li (the father) will be revealed in court.
According to Ming Pao News and Chinese World Journal, A case worker at ACS told the Family Court judge on the May 22 court date that Ying Li interacts very well with her daughter Angela Nianni Li, that she’s deemed a good mother. The judge at the Family Court allows Ying Li to make one telephone call per day to her youngest daughter, Angela Nianni Li. The judge further sets the next Family Court date to September, waiting for the additional DNA testing results of the parents and the remains of Baby Annie to make decisions on child custody. Since Ying Li has started a job, the judge allows Ying Li to visit her daughter Angela once a week for a longer time period, instead of twice a week at shorter time period each.
My Chinese friend briefly translated the Chinese newspapers coverage of the May 8 court meeting due to busy schedule. In summary, the DNA testings found that the father (Hangbin Li) carries the Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI) – Type 1 genetic defect which was also found in the remains of Baby Annie. The judge approves further DNA testings and the next court date will be Tuesday, June 26, 2012. Here are the news in Chinese: from Singtao News, Chinese World Journal, Mingpao News.
: While the genetic testing on Baby Annie’s remains confirmed that Baby Annie indeed HAD genetic defects, the genetic testing results of the parents (Hangbin Li and Ying Li) should be released by the next Court date on May 8, 2012. See details below:
: Per Chinese World Journal, by the judge’s order, Ying Li and Hangbin Li received genetic testings on April 10. The genetic testing results should be available by the next court date on May 8. The NYC Chinese community is hopeful that the genetic testing results will exonerate the couple from Shaken Baby Syndrome child abuse. This Chinese news article revealed that Ying Li’s paternal grandparents were consanguinous (marriage between first cousins). The older brother of Ying Li died when he was 3-months-old due to genetic weak bone conditions, the older sister of Ying Li became disabled at the age of 1. Several paternal uncles of Ying Li also died at infancy age due to weak bone conditions.
: Per ABC News Good Morning America, a Colorado couple, William “Dave” O’Shell and Tiffany O’Shell were wrongfully accused of Shaken Baby Syndrome child abuse on their 3-month-old baby Alyssa in 2008. It was later discovered that Baby Alyssa died from a rare genetic disorder called “Spinal Muscular Atrophy” or SMA that caused her bones to fracture — one that authorities had confused for abuse. Unfortunately, Dave O’Shell was so distraught by the wrongful ??child abuse?? accusation (the threat of prison, loss of child custody, loss of military status) that he committed suicide after shooting his wife to death on June 30, 2008. The father of Tiffany O’Shell, Paul Cuin, recently talked to the media exposing this Colorado court case. Two innocent parents wrongfully accused of homicide and the State of Colorado did nothing but blind threats and accusations. Will the prosecutors and the so-called medical experts “know-it-all” sit down for once and learn about genetic defects as possible causes of death in some babies?
: According to Chinese World Journal and Ming Pao News, the ACS (Administration for Children’s Services in NYC) is allowing Ying Li to visit her 3-yr-old daughter Angela Nianni Li in the joint presence of ACS case workers for a maxium of 6 hours per week (2 visits per week, 3 hours max on each visit). Yesterday (April 3) was the first ACS-supervised visit with her daughter. The ACS brought food and children’s clothing for the child on this visit.
: Despite the Queens County prosecutors admitting on March 27, 2012 that they have found evidence of genetic defects in the remains of Baby Annie, according to Ming Pao News, Chinese World Journal, and Sing Tao News 1, Sing Tao News on medical, it’s reported that on March 29, the Family Court denied the mother Ying Li from staying overnight with her 3-yr-old daughter Angela Nianni Li. The Family Court further set restrictions on Ying Li’s ability to see her daughter during daytime. The NYC Chinese community is trying to help her on this, plus doing more fundraising (see info on where to send check donations). After paying for the $10,000 bail, legal and medical fees, they only had about $200 left in the Citibank account as of March 28, 2012. According to Sing Tao News and Ming Pao News (on the bottom right-hand corner, above local weather & lottery results), Ying Li wrote a letter in Chinese to the Judge and went to the Family Court on April 2 to ask for custody of her 2nd daugher Angela Nianni Li. The Family Court Judge again denied her rights and set the next court date in the Family Court on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 (after the May 8, 2012 court date in Criminal Court where the genetic testing results of the parents are expected to be released).
: Major development! The genetic testing on Baby Annie’s remains confirmed that Baby Annie indeed HAD genetic defects, and she was NOT a healthy baby to begin with. The Queens County prosecutors in NYC will be testing the parents’ genetics to see if one or both parents are carriers of genetic defects that may have caused the death of Baby Annie, rather than the so-called Shaken Baby Syndrome “child abuse”. The mother’s family has a history of genetic defects. At least 5 family members of Ying Li died at infancy age in China due to weak bone conditions (Osteogenesis Imperfecta). On the March 27 court date with Judge Gregory Lasak presiding, the Queens prosecutors Leigh Bishop and Marjory Fisher agreed to lower the bail from $250,000 to $10,000 on the mother, Ying Li. She was released from Rikers Islands jail on March 28. She has been in jail for about 4 years before trial. The father, Hangbin Li, is NOT allowed to be released on bail. If you can read Chinese, the news from Chinese World Journal, Ming Pao News and Sing Tao News on March 28, 2012. The Chinese news on March 29, 2012 about Ying Li being released on bail are here: Ming Pao News 1, Ming Pao News 2, Chinese World Journal 1, Chinese World Journal 2, Sing Tao News 1, Sing Tao News 2.
: It’s reported in the Chinese World Journal and Ming Pao News that they are quite close to raising enough money to hire a 2nd medical experts for the Baby Annie case. They need another few thousand dollars to hire the second medical expert. If you can read Chinese, read the story in Chinese World Journal published on March 15, 2012. Thank you for your support!
A hardware store owner (left) in NYC presenting a $2,000 check to Michael Chu (2nd right) and Aunt Helen Meizhen Zhou (1st right) to help the fundraising efforts to pay for medical experts in the Baby Annie case.
Read this news from The Sydney Morning Herald on March 16, 2012, “Doctors queries Shaken Baby Syndrome symptoms“
Read this March 14, 2012 news by Emily Bazelon “Are Innocent Parents Being Prosecuted for Killing Their Babies?” for Slate magazine. NOTE that this author Emily seems to have prejudice against Asian immigrant parents who do not have white skin, blue/green/brown eyes. I do not like her tone when she mentioned about the Baby Annie case in this Slate magazine article. Save your racism for yourself, Emily! America is the original home of American Indians who are the true natives of America, not the Mayflower invaders from England or Christopher Columbus.
Emily Bazelon also this, “Shaken-Baby Syndrome Faces New Questions in Court” for the New York Times magazine on February 2, 2011.
: A Canadian TV station, the CBC, just broadcasted a 46-minute TV program called ”The Fifth Estate“ on Jan 15, 2012, the episode titled ”Diagnosis Murder” presents new evidence and questions whether certain cases of Shaken Baby Syndrome even existed. Follow this LINK to see “The Fifth Estate” TV program information, episode titled “Diagnosis Murder“.
A medical news reporter called Maia Szalavitz wrote an article with Time magazine on Jan 17, 2012 titled: The Shaky Science of Shaken Baby Syndrome. Read her news article in this LINK
ABC’s Good Morning America made coverage of the Baby Annie case on Jan 17, 2012 titled: Annie Li: Shaken Baby Case Highlights Difficult Diagnoses. See LINK to the news.
An Asian friend of mine has been telling me about the “Baby Annie” case since 2010. Finally the English media “The New York Times” has published this story about the “Baby Annie” case. Baby Annie may have died from a genetic condition called “” which can cause weak bones, might run in the family and could have contributed to Baby Annie’s death instead of child abuse. A number of direct family members of Baby Annie’s mother died at very young age in China due to this weak bone condition. So Baby Annie may not have died from “Shaken Baby Syndrome” as the prosecutors claimed. .
Link to the same NY Times article:
THE lives of Li Hangbin and Li Ying were intertwined nearly from the start.
Although unrelated by blood, they shared a common Chinese surname, and as third-grade classmates, they shared the same double desk in their hometown, Changle, in the Fujian province of China.
After the two left school, in 2004, each of their families paid Chinese “snakehead” immigrant smugglers upward of $60,000 to sneak them into the United States through separate but similarly arduous and circuitous journeys, they said.
Once in New York, they both took low-paying jobs, became a couple and moved into a boarding house in Flushing, Queens. In August 2007, they became parents of a baby girl they called Annie.
For almost four years, they have both been inmates on Rikers Island, charged with the shaken baby death of 70-day-old Annie, for which they will be tried — together — in a Queens courtroom, most likely this spring.
According to the Queens district attorney, Richard A. Brown, the father, Li Hangbin, 27, inflicted horrific injuries on Annie on Oct. 22, 2007, and then, along with Ms. Li, 26, neglected to call 911 until after midnight, which might have cost the baby her life.
Five days after Annie was taken to the emergency room, she died. After investigating for nearly five months, the police arrested the couple, who at the time spoke almost no English, and charged them with second-degree manslaughter and endangering the welfare of a child. Mr. Li also faces second-degree murder, and if convicted, could serve 25 years to life. Ms. Li’s charges carry a maximum sentence of 15 years.
Despite the disturbing charges, a group of supporters has sprung up over the past year in the Chinese community in Flushing, arguing that the Lis, far from being the monsters portrayed by the district attorney’s office, are themselves victims, whose poverty, lack of connections and unfamiliarity with the American justice system made them vulnerable targets for prosecutors.
They cite the fact that the couple have no criminal records, and no history of domestic problems.
“The couple has been swallowed up by the system,” said Michael Chu, a Flushing travel agent and local advocate who had never heard of the Lis until a client mentioned the case two years ago.
Mr. Chu’s third-floor travel office, just off Main Street in a neighborhood that teems with Chinese immigrants, has become headquarters for what a banner on the wall proclaims in Chinese as the “Li Ying, Li Hangbin Rescue Committee.”
On the walls, listings of resort bargains and flight deals have been replaced by petitions and clippings from Chinese-language newspapers about the Li case. There is even an elaborate diagram of a family tree that outlines both parents’ family history — including births, deaths and medical records — going back four generations. Mr. Chu said he had gathered “substantial evidence to suggest that there are genetic defects that run in the family line” that might have led to the early deaths of six direct relatives, including three newborns who died at roughly 2 months old.
The family tree was suggested by Mr. Chu’s wife. A local practitioner of Chinese medicine was buying a plane ticket in Mr. Chu’s office last year when he noticed that the diagram suggested that a condition called osteogenesis imperfecta, which can cause weak bones, might run in the family and could have contributed to Annie’s death. Mr. Chu has recruited other clients to help him research medical and legal defense strategies, not to mention raise money to pay for the couple’s defense.
The portraits of the Lis drawn by the two opposing sides could not be more different. Legal authorities say they are abusive parents who callously let their daughter languish near death for hours rather than call 911. Supporters say the Lis are struggling immigrants who loved their child and have gotten caught up in legal machinery that they don’t understand and are ill prepared to confront.
The stark disagreement extends even to what happened to Annie’s body after her death. The Lis say the police at the 109th Precinct station ignored their repeated requests to retake custody of the body. Officials from the Queens district attorney’s office say Annie was never claimed by the Lis from the morgue, despite repeated notices from the authorities. Whichever is true, Annie’s body lingered in the morgue for six months before she was buried, without a funeral, in a small pine box in a mass grave on Hart Island.
RIKERS ISLAND, with its 11,000 inmates, is primarily intended for short stays, housing defendants awaiting trial or those sentenced to a year or less in a city jail. Jail officials say the average stay for an inmate awaiting trial is 54.6 days, and for a city-sentenced inmate, approximately 36 days.
A murder case often takes a year or two to go to trial, but rarely longer.
On a recent weekday, Ms. Li sat in a Rikers visiting room, speaking softly in Mandarin. She and Mr. Li have been there since shortly after their arrests, separated from the guards and other inmates by language and culture, and unable to make the $250,000 bail set for each. On this and other visits, she and Mr. Li told their story in separate interviews.
After arriving in the United States in 2004, Ms. Li applied for, and received, a green card. Mr. Li started the process to get a green card, and both worked to pay off their immigration debts, holding several low-paying restaurant jobs.
In March 2007, they arrived at the three-story apartment building on Union Street in Flushing that serves as a boarding house for Chinese immigrants. Ms. Li was pregnant with Annie, and they moved into a two-bedroom apartment with Zhou Meizhen, 59, a mother of three, who ran the house.
In August, Annie was born at a hospital. The couple paid for the birth out of pocket because they did not have health insurance, they said. The Lis relied on their “Aunt” Zhou for parenting advice, and she was, in fact, home with the couple on the night of the baby’s collapse. In interviews, Ms. Zhou said the Lis were devoted and careful parents.
“They never even had a fight,” she said. “They were good people. They were happy and always smiling.” She said she heard no crying or commotion in the days and hours leading up to Annie’s collapse.
Around midnight on the evening of Oct. 22, Mr. Li said, he was bottle-feeding Annie when she suddenly began spitting up. Then she lost consciousness. Mr. Li said he tried to revive her with chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Ms. Li woke up Ms. Zhou, who called 911 immediately, Mr. Li said. The baby was taken by ambulance to Flushing Hospital Medical Center, where she was revived and put on life support, but with severe brain damage. Mr. Li said he first sensed that there was a legal problem when a hospital staff member told him that donating Annie’s organs could reduce the charges.
“What charges?” Mr. Li said he remembered thinking.
“I would never do anything to cause her harm,” he said in an interview at Rikers.
While Annie remained brain dead and on life support, the police repeatedly brought the Lis in for questioning. Interpreters were used during the interrogation, but the couple did not have lawyers. Both parents resolutely denied harming the child. They said detectives kept them hungry and held them in cold cells, often for hours, before interrogating them for many more. The detectives used a line of questioning that presumed their guilt, the Lis said, and promised them they could return to their dying child if they admitted complicity in the baby’s injury.
They did not admit wrongdoing. But investigators said Mr. Li described accidentally bumping Annie’s head against a small night table just before the 911 call, a seemingly slight accident that, according to the criminal complaint, “is inconsistent with the nature and severity of the complainant’s injuries.”
Mr. Li said that detectives were pressing him to come up with a reason for the baby’s head injuries, and that he finally offered that it was possible that, in all the chaos, her head might have hit the night stand. The admission contributed to his being charged with more serious crimes than his wife.
He declared his innocence, saying, “I would never allow any harm to come to my baby.”
Annie died on Oct. 28, five days after she arrived at the emergency room.
After the couple’s arrest, the lawyers assigned to them requested a suicide watch for the couple, and Ms. Li was put in Elmhurst Hospital Center’s psychiatric unit, where she spent several days in restraints, she said, before being taken to Rikers. She was pregnant at the time with the couple’s second child.
For the birth, on Oct. 30, 2008, she was taken to Elmhurst Hospital Center shackled at the hands and feet throughout most of her stay, she said. She gave birth to a daughter, Nianni, whose name means “Remember Annie” in Chinese.
THE Lis’ trial delays are largely the result of language differences, their changing representation and extensive court hearings, including 18 months of intermittent hearings on whether they had been correctly apprised of their rights and completely understood what was going on during their interrogations. A judge ultimately ruled that the interrogations had been conducted properly.
According to the charges, Annie’s injuries included a massive skull fracture from two “non-accidental” blows that caused brain damage, hemorrhaging and eye injuries, as well as two broken legs and a fractured rib that had not fully healed. The death was described in the criminal complaint as “homicide by shaking and blunt impact of the head.”
The complaint goes on to state that Annie’s injuries were “consistent with the non-accidental inflicted trauma of shaken-baby syndrome, which occurs when a baby is repeatedly and violently shaken, causing brain damage.”
The complaint also says the Lis may have cost Annie her life by allowing her to languish for hours with injuries while they sought advice, calling their parents in China instead of immediately calling 911. The Lis say they did call their parents earlier in the evening, hours before they recognized any problems with their child. According to the complaint, a friend told investigators he arrived at the Lis’ home around 8 p.m. and remained until the ambulance came later that night. He said that Annie was not crying and did not show any signs of injury, but that she did seem sick, especially after midnight, and was making gurgling sounds and “sweating and not moving her legs.” The man has since disappeared.
Kevin Ryan, a spokesman for the Queens district attorney’s office, would not comment on the case. A law enforcement source familiar with the case who was not authorized to speak and, thus, would comment only anonymously, said the Lis had taken Annie to Flushing Hospital Medical Center as a “horrifically battered baby.”
“Even the most vociferous critics of shaken-baby syndrome would look at this case and say, ‘This is a battered child,’ ” the source added. “The skull was basically broken in half, and in such a small baby, it was just horrific.”
At a training conference in September on shaken-baby syndrome for medical and legal professionals, Mr. Brown, the Queens district attorney, cited a then-pending article in Pediatrics magazine about a study indicating that the incidence of abusive head trauma to American children under age 5 had increased drastically over the past few years of the recession, “suggesting that economic woes may have led parents to lash out against their kids.”
For the Lis’ supporters, the case is not nearly so clear-cut. Mr. Chu points to the other possible causes of Annie’s death, though he’s no expert. In an unforeseen consequence, the long delay in bringing the Lis to trial has provided him with time to raise money and awareness of their cause in New York’s Chinese immigrant community. One man serving a prison sentence upstate sent a $30 check.
At a demonstration last month on Main Street, passers-by put more than $500 into a donation box, next to which Nianni, who is in the care of Ms. Zhou, stood holding a sign that read in Chinese, “Save my mother and father!”
“They say that the U.S. is a country of human rights,” Ms. Zhou said in an interview on another afternoon. “Is this fair? Is this just? How many years of their lives do they have left to waste?”
Mr. Chu said he hoped that lawyers could cast doubt on the prosecutors’ claim that the severe fractures were caused by shaking or flinging, since the autopsy showed no fractures to Annie’s spinal cord and neck. He and other supporters say that if the Lis did delay calling 911, it was not because of any disregard for the baby’s condition, but because they, like many new Chinese immigrants, feared government officials and the authorities in general, even in emergencies. Immediately after the Lis’ arrest, nearly all the tenants in their apartment building in Flushing moved out, fearing repercussions from immigration authorities, Ms. Zhou said.
Last year, Mr. Chu hired Cedric Ashley, a private lawyer, to replace the public defender who had been representing Mr. Li. Mr. Ashley, who has defended others accused in shaken-baby cases, hopes to exploit the growing criticism of the whole idea of shaken-baby syndrome, which has come under re-examination in legal and medical circles as convictions have been overturned and appealed.
Mr. Ashley and Murray Singer, Ms. Li’s court-appointed lawyer, said prosecutors, lacking strong witnesses and a direct confession, would most likely make their case in court by calling on medical experts to interpret Annie’s grisly autopsy. Mr. Ashley said the autopsy “will be very helpful to the Lis,” because it shows the baby’s neck was undamaged, an issue in shaken-baby cases. The defense will call its own experts as rebuttal witnesses, making for a trial that Mr. Ashley thinks will be “a battle of experts.”
In the past year, prosecutors have several times offered Ms. Li a chance to go free, provided that she plead guilty in open court. She has refused, she said in an interview, because “I did not do anything wrong.” A false admission of guilt, she said, would send the wrong message to her surviving daughter and dishonor the memory of her dead daughter.
ON a recent Saturday, as she does several times a month, Ms. Zhou took Nianni to visit her mother on Rikers Island.
It is a half-day routine that the girl goes through almost automatically: riding the city bus over the narrow bridge onto the island, standing in the long lines for repeated security checks and searches. As soon as the heavy automatic door to the visiting room slid open, Nianni dashed in past a guard and spied her mother across a room filled with dozens of inmates and visitors.
Ms. Li was the only Asian inmate there. She sat in a plastic chair, at a square table, looking small in her jail-issued jumpsuit. When she spotted Nianni, she smiled, and Nianni ran into her open arms.
Nianni explored coloring books and puzzles in the play area and returned frequently to hug her mother, who seemed subdued, her hands in her lap, her fine black hair pulled back into a ponytail. Ms. Li punctuated her comments with frequent sobs, which she tried to hide from Nianni.
At one point, Nianni walked over and said in Mandarin, “You’re crying.” She hugged her mother.
Ms. Li held her daughter and fought back tears.
“Now, for my second daughter,” she said, “I try to control my crying.”