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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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Fluky Justice

Fluky Justice

(p.127) 7 Fluky Justice
Flawed Convictions

Deborah Tuerkheimer

Oxford University Press

As understandings of the triad have evolved, so too has the criminal justice system’s response to SBS begun to shift. Greater skepticism can be discerned in the charging decisions of prosecutors, the verdicts of juries, and the rulings of judges. Yet doubts about the meaning of the triad by no means manifest themselves uniformly. Instead, similar fact patterns result in wildly disparate outcomes, from non-prosecution to lifelong incarceration. As our criminal justice system struggles to integrate the latest thinking about SBS, justice is distributed unevenly, sporadically, and in rather chaotic fashion. This chapter surveys this landscape, focusing on acquittals; dismissals; and cases not resulting in an arrest, but in family court intervention.

Keywords:   skepticism, acquittals, dismissals, non-arrest, fluky justice, disparate outcomes, family court

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