STORY: "Hearing scrutinizes shaken baby science," by reporter Gary Craig, published by the Democrat and Chronicle on April 17, 2014.
SUB-HEADING: "Rene Bailey was in court April17, 2014, for a hearing on possible new evidence in her shaken baby conviction from the 2001 incident."
GIST: A hearing challenging the science of so-called shaken baby syndrome opened Thursday with attorneys offering differing opinions of the scientific consensus. At issue is whether a Greece woman, René Bailey, was wrongly convicted in 2002 for the death of 2½-year-old Brittney Alexis Sheets, who died while in Bailey's care. The hearing before County Court Judge James Piampiano could last more than a week. A jury decided that the injuries Brittney suffered could only be caused by violent shaking. At the time, police, prosecutors and many in the medical community maintained that injuries of the type suffered by the child could only be caused by vigorous shaking. In recent years, those beliefs have come under constant challenge, and some experts now contend that a fall could well be the cause of the injuries. Bailey maintained at trial that she tried to revive Brittney after a fall. To overturn Bailey's conviction, Piampiano would have to decide that there is new evidence, unavailable at the time of Bailey's trial, that likely could have led the jury to a decision of acquittal. Adele Bernhard, a New York Law School law professor who represents Bernhard, said in an opening statement that "this conviction was based on uncorroborated medical evidence." In 2002, she said, there was not a consensus that a fall could cause the brain injuries seen in Brittney. Bailey claimed that Brittney had fallen off a chair. "The jury was told this couldn't happen," Bernhard said. Now, she said, many medical experts recognize that the traumatic signs once believed to be solely caused by shaken-baby syndrome can arise from a fall. Assistant District Attorney Andra Ackerman countered that the jury did hear of a possible fall from only 18 inches, considered the medical evidence, and decided that the death was caused by Bailey. "I'm confident that the court will find that there's no new evidence," she said. Testimony opened with Dr. Peter Stephens, a forensics pathologist who testified that he has examined the medical and autopsy records of Brittney's death and believes a fall was the likely cause. "There is now general agreement that short distance falls can kill — maybe not commonly, but they can," he said. Stephens was scheduled to return to the stand for cross-examination after a lunch break..........The growing debate around shaken-baby syndrome was detailed in Democrat and Chronicle watchdog reports in November and January. The hearing will include testimony from more than a dozen expert witnesses on both sides of the scientific divide, and may well be the most detailed challenge to shaken-baby syndrome yet heard in a New York Court. A ruling is not expected for two months or more after the hearing."
The entire story can be found at:
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