Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Monday, May 28, 2012

Shaken Baby Syndrome's Real Victims

Shaken Baby Syndrome is a theory promoted by the child abuse industry. It causes wrongful convictions of loving caregivers when sick infants die during their watch. These cases lack outward evidence of abuse, such as a broken skull or neck, but are prosecuted based on symptoms like tiny internal bleeding. Shaken Baby Syndrome is never witnessed, but sends many innocent people to long jail sentences based on half-baked theories of so-called experts.

Mercifully, on Good Friday California Governor Jerry Brown intervened to prevent the latest victim of false Shaken Baby Syndrome allegations from being sent back to jail. Grandmother Shirley Ree Smith had already served a decade in prison based on a conviction that many observers agree was unjustified. She was caring for her 7-week-old grandson one night when he tragically died, and some minimal bleeding in the brain was found by the coroner. That condition can have a variety of causes, but Ms. Smith was convicted of Shaken Baby Syndrome. As is typical in these cases, investigators interrogate the distraught caregiver about whether she ever shook the baby, and of course she had gently shaken the child in an attempt to revive him. That is then used unfairly as an admission against the caregiver. Occasionally babies, like adults, unexpectedly die of natural causes. If a mother was watching the baby at the time, she is almost never charged because juries disbelieve the prosecutors story. But if a father, a grandparent, or anyone else was watching a baby when he unexpectedly dies, then this witchhunt begins at taxpayer expense.

The Ninth Circuit overturned the conviction of Shirley Ree Smith, but the Supreme Court reinstated it. Then Governor Brown stopped the injustice. Meanwhile others are suffering long prison sentences, and even the threat of the death penalty, based on the junk science of Shaken Baby Syndrome.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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