The first case below is the one that drew me into this project. The second I followed as it played out, since it happened in my own county after I’d already started my research. Each story illustrates a different way the classic model of SBS can encourage well-meaning experts to reach hasty conclusions. Click a highlighted name to reach the story.
- Stephanie, a suburban wife, mother and babysitter, 26 years old at the time of the accusations. Her story is the spine of my book. The infant in this case might have been abused, or maybe just dropped, but the timing of the injuries is not at all clear.
- Patti, a suburban adult child care provider, 32 years old at the time of the accusations. I believe there was no abuse in this case: Paramedics pulled a rubber band from the infant’s throat during resuscitation.
If you haven’t read the Prologue yet, check it out for Tammy’s story, a misdiagnosis of the genetic metabolic disorder Menkes disease.
I also bring your attention to a handful of other important and illustrative cases:
- Tonia Miller, whose daughter died of pneumonia, freed after 18 years in prison and 7 years of work by the Michigan Innocence Clinic
- Drayton Witt, whose son died of a seizure disorder, freed after a decade in prison and 4 years of work by the Arizona Justice Project
- Audrey Edmunds, a babysitter freed after a decade in prison by the Innocence Project of Wisconsin
- Russ Van Vleck, found innocent in the death of his son, who was born with a malformed skull
- Paul and Zabeth Bayne, granted custody of their children after four years of fighting
- Shirley Ree Smith, sentence commuted by Governor Jerry Brown in the spring of 2012
- Ernie Lopez, accepted a plea bargain in 2013 after his 2003 conviction was reversed in 2012
- Melissa Funte, an early example of the controversy
- David and Tiffany O’Shell, not SBS but an especially tragic story
- Lance Finner, rickets diagnosed as abuse
- Queenyona Boyd and Anthony Richards, Sr. birth injury diagnosed as abuse
The National Registry of Exonerations includes a number of additional overturned shaking convictions, many of them misdiagnoses of legitimate medical conditions:
- Pneumonia, in the case of Tonia Miller (registry entry, blog post)
- Sickle cell disease, in the case of Melonie Ware (registry entry, radio treatment)
- Stroke, in the case of Julie Baumer (registry entry, press treatment)
- Sepsis infection, in the case of Adrian Thomas (registry entry, film about his first trial)
- Urinary tract infection and hypoxia, in the case of Brandy Briggs (registry entry)
- SIDS, in the cases of Teresa Engberg-Lehmer (registry entry) and Joel Lehmer (registry entry), whose case helped unravel years of misdiagnoses by Dr. Thomas Bennett in Iowa (Los Angeles Times treatment, by reporter Barry Siegel)
- Accidental injury, in the cases of
Some cases in the registry were overturned because they rested on timing:
- Audrey Edmunds (registry entry, press treatment, book about her ordeal)
- Mary Weaver (registry entry, press treatment, book about her ordeal)
- Abilgail Tiscareno (registry entry)
- Rashawn Greer (registry entry)
- Kim Hoover-Moore (press treatment)
The collected Posts on this web site include dozens of other cases.
Three books tell the stories of accused baby-shakers eventually cleared of the charges:
- It Happened to Audrey, the story of mother and infant-care provider Audrey Edmunds in Wisconsin
- When Truth No Longer Matters, the story of Heather Toomey and her husband in England, accused of shaking their younger son
- Edges of Truth, the story of mother and infant care provider Mary Weaver in Iowa
A fourth book is now in print, Journey With “Justice,” by Dan Schrock, whose daughter was sent to prison for the presumed shaking of her younger child. This from-the-heart account illustrates how the initial medical reports, combined with dubious tactics by both investigators and prosecutors, tainted the investigation and ultimate conviction.
A number of defendants enjoy on-line support sites and Facebook pages, and a handful of courageous families who’ve survived the accusations are speaking out. If you would like to add a link to the partial list below, please submit a response to this page and I will fold it in when I find the time. If you would like your comment to be confidential, mention that and I won’t approve it for posting.
- Clayton Allison (a shocking interrogation from the case)
- Amanda Brumfield (link to petition and the new site)
- Josh Burns
- Melissa Caluzinski (link to petition)
- Jason Curtis (link to petition)
- Lance Finner
- Michael Giovo, Jr. (link to petition)
- Jeffrey Havard
- James Higbee
- John Laverty, Jr.
- Marsha Mills (a short fall case)
- Clayton Mibroda
- Elwood Michiru (the Amanda Truth Project)
- Brian Peixoto (link to petition)
- Aaron Rasheed
- Andrew Stephens
- The Yhip Family
- Justice 4 Jason