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Flawed Convictions"Shaken Baby Syndrome" and the Inertia of Injustice$
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Deborah Tuerkheimer

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199913633

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199913633.001.0001

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Introduction

Introduction

Chapter:
(p.xi) Introduction
Source:
Flawed Convictions
Author(s):

Deborah Tuerkheimer

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199913633.003.0011

Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) is a prosecution paradigm that allows doctors to provide the testimony necessary to convict a caregiver or parent of abusing an infant, often to death. Audrey Edmunds, a Wisconsin day care provider, was convicted in 1996 based on this standard SBS paradigm. Over a decade later, Edmunds was freed, because the science that convicted her no longer proved guilt beyond a reasonable doubt—this was the conclusion of the appellate court that heard how the diagnosis had evolved. Even so, convictions resting on these same paradigmatic facts remain largely undisturbed, and new prosecutions based on old understandings continue to this day. The Introduction outlines the book’s scope, previews its central themes, and begins to sketch its implications for criminal justice.

Keywords:   Audrey Edmunds, scientific evolution, prosecution paradigm, criminal justice, proof beyond a reasonable doubt

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