Thursday, December 1, 2011

Shaken Baby Syndrome

When I was a law clerk, the year after I graduated from law school, I had the opportunity to watch two separate criminal trials where the issue was shaken baby syndrome.  In one trial, the defendant was convicted; in the other, the defendant was acquitted.  In both cases, the prosecution and defense both presented the testimony of expert witnesses on this very topic.  Needless to say, it was extremely interesting to watch and learn about.  However, it made very clear to me that the diagnoses of shaken baby syndrome is far from a medical certainty.  There are many variables that go into whether shaken baby syndrome is present in the particular child.  But even more interesting (at least to me), is the question of whether shaken baby syndrome even exists, as well as whether shaking alone can cause injury or if an impact of the head is needed.  I take no position on this, because frankly I lack the medical training to honestly evaluate it.

In the December 2011 issue of the ABA Journal, an American Bar Association publication, this very topic has been taken up.  I urge you to read it and consider the issue for yourself.  (The article is in the hard copy version of the ABA Journal, but hasn't yet been posted on their website.  Once it is, I'll add the link.)  Here is the link to the article (Updated 12/08/2011).  The ABA Journal has also written about this topic before.  This is a list of some of their other articles on the topic.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this information. I was surprised to note "Black Hills" in your blog. I am SD resident as well and wonder if living in a rural community plays a part in the lack of understanding or lack of want to understand SBS. My family is now dealing with a situation and I keep thinking...-this could happen to anyone...