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Book Review: Flawed Convictions - ‘Shaken Baby Syndrome’ and the Inertia of Injustice
By Carrie Sperling
Book Review columns.
‘Shaken Baby Syndrome’ and the Inertia of Injustice
By Deborah Tuerkheimer
Oxford University Press (2015)
In 1996, the state of Wisconsin successfully prosecuted Audrey Edmunds for an unspeakable crime: the violent shaking death of a six-month-old girl. But 12 years later, an appellate court overturned Edmunds’ conviction because, the appeals court held, “a shift in mainstream medical opinion” casts doubt on the accuracy of expert testimony presented at Edmunds’ trial. Edmunds’ case seemed part of a small, yet potentially-ground breaking trend: a recognition by courts that flawed medical testimony could lead to wrongful convictions of defendants for Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS). Deborah Tuerkheimer, a former prosecutor who once litigated SBS cases, had thought this handful of victories might catalyze a “massive institutional effort” to overturn similarly-flawed SBS convictions. Instead, Tuerkheimer, now a law professor at Northwestern, found a “criminal just
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