Two court decisions in different parts of the country have brought shaken baby syndrome theory into the news this week, one focusing on the science of infant head injury and the other on legal process.
In a move that USA Today called a possible state precedent, Judge James J. Piampiano in Monroe County, New York, vacated the murder conviction of child care provider Rene Bailey, citing what he called “a compelling and consequential shift in mainstream medical opinion” about the kind of injuries suffered by two-and-a-half-year-old Brittney Sheets at Bailey’s home day care in 2001.
At the time, Bailey reported that Brittney had fallen off a chair, but prosecution doctors testified that a fall from only 18 inches could not kill a child. The decision, available on line through the Democrat & Chronicle news coverage, quotes pediatrician Jack Finnell on the stand at Bailey’s trial in December of 2001:
I hark back to someone…
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