Resources

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

Martin Luther King Jr.

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Books, Articles, and Studies

Key resources relating to the foundations and principles of the Wrongful Conviction Project. Some resources may redirect to locations outside of the Ohio Public Defender's website

Flawed Convictions: Shaken Baby Syndrome and the Inertia of Justice

Flawed Convictions: Shaken Baby Syndrome and the Inertia of Justice

Flawed Convictions: Shaken Baby Syndrome and the Inertia of Justice
Deborah Tuerkheimer, 2014

  • The first book to survey the scientific, cultural, and legal history of "Shaken Baby Syndrome" from inception to formal dissolution.
  • Exposes extraordinary failings in the criminal justice system's treatment of "Shaken Baby Syndrome" cases
  • Presents a new perspective on the need for the law to better respond to the scientific contingency
  • Provides an examination of "Shaken Baby Syndrome," its evolution in science and law, and explores the overlap of forensic medicine and criminal law to explain "science-dependent prosecution"
  • Proposes a path forward for criminal justice, while suggesting a restructuring of the law in order to deal with the uncertainty of scientific knowledge
 

The emergence of Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) presents an object lesson in the dangers that lie at the intersection of science and criminal law. As often occurs in the context of scientific knowledge, understandings of SBS have evolved. We now know that the diagnostic triad alone does not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an infant was abused, or that the last person with the baby was responsible for the baby's condition. Nevertheless, our legal system has failed to absorb this new consensus. As a result, innocent parents and caregivers remain incarcerated and, perhaps more perplexingly, triad-only prosecutions continue even to this day.

 
Flawed Convictions: "Shaken Baby Syndrome" and the Inertia of Injustice is the first book to survey the scientific, cultural, and legal history of Shaken Baby Syndrome from inception to formal dissolution. It exposes extraordinary failings in the criminal justice system's treatment of what is, in essence, a medical diagnosis of murder. The story of SBS highlights fundamental inadequacies in the legal response to "science dependent prosecution." A proposed restructuring of the law contends with the uncertainty of scientific knowledge.


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