“Shaken baby syndrome was once believed to be virtually a medical diagnosis of murder—clear-cut and convincing beyond a reasonable doubt,” the promo opens, “but in recent years there’s been growing disquiet about miscarriage of justice after infant deaths.”
Reporter Linda Pressly has prepared a compelling and balanced treatment, including educational exchanges with Dr. Ron Uscinski—a Maryland neurosurgeon who began doubting classic SBS theory in 1997 while reviewing the literature in preparation for the Louise Woodward trial—as well as touching moments with the grieving family of a 2-1/2 year old Midwest girl believed shaken to death in 2006.
Pressly’s interview with Julie Baumer, freed on appeal in 2010 after four years in prison for the presumed shaking of her nephew, reveals a calm, articulate woman showing grace under fire. Baumer had taken on her nephew’s care at birth because of her sister’s drug use. Her deep sadness, she says, is that the parents who adopted him cannot believe she’s innocent and so she has no part in his life. “There’s nothing legally stopping me from approaching him,” she says, but “out of respect I’ll wait for the denial to break away.”
You can hear this excellent program at:
In February, the BBC also ran a story about police tactics in England intended to discredit medical experts who question classic SBS theory. The print version, for quick reading, is at:
The 8-minute radio treatment is at:
Julia Baumer’s case was featured in an article about SBS published this winter in The New York Times Magazine, on line at http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/06/magazine/06baby-t.html.
If you’ve stumbled on this post without knowing more about my work, please explore my SBS site:
(c)2011 Sue Luttner