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Flawed Convictions: Shaken Baby Syndrome and the Inertia of Injustice: Book by Deborah Tuerkheimer

Flawed Convictions: Shaken Baby Syndrome and the Inertia of Injustice

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ISBN: 9780190233617    Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc Year of publishing: 2015     Format:  Paperback No of Pages: 320        Language: English
The emergence of Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) presents an object lesson in the dangers that lie at the intersection of science and criminal law. As often occurs in the context of scientific knowledge, understandings...Read more
The emergence of Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) presents an object lesson in the dangers that lie at the intersection of science and criminal law. As often occurs in the context of scientific knowledge, understandings of SBS have evolved. We now know that the diagnostic triad alone does not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an infant was abused, or that the last person with the baby was responsible for the baby's condition. Nevertheless, our legal system has failed to absorb this new consensus. As a result, innocent parents and caregivers remain incarcerated and, perhaps more perplexingly, triad-only prosecutions continue even to this day. Flawed Convictions: "Shaken Baby Syndrome" and the Inertia of Injustice is the first book to survey the scientific, cultural, and legal history of Shaken Baby Syndrome from inception to formal dissolution. It exposes extraordinary failings in the criminal justice system's treatment of what is, in essence, a medical diagnosis of murder. The story of SBS highlights fundamental inadequacies in the legal response to "science dependent prosecution." A proposed restructuring of the law contends with the uncertainty of scientific knowledge.
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About the author: Deborah Tuerkheimer
Deborah Tuerkheimer is a Professor of Law at Northwestern University School of Law. From 2009 to 2014 she was Professor of Law at DePaul University College... Read more
Deborah Tuerkheimer is a Professor of Law at Northwestern University School of Law. From 2009 to 2014 she was Professor of Law at DePaul University College of Law. She earned her undergraduate degree from Harvard College and her law degree from Yale. After clerking for the Alaska Supreme Court, Professor Tuerkheimer served for five years as an Assistant District Attorney in the New York County District Attorney's Office, where she specialized in domestic violence and child abuse prosecution.
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Review:
Deborah Tuerkheimer's Flawed Convictions is a brilliant and timely book that meticulously presents a clear, comprehensive, and thoughtful analysis of the evolution of "shaken baby syndrome"...Read more
Deborah Tuerkheimer's Flawed Convictions is a brilliant and timely book that meticulously presents a clear, comprehensive, and thoughtful analysis of the evolution of "shaken baby syndrome" homicide prosecutions, their impact on innocent caregivers, and the failure of the American legal system to self-correct in the face of staggering evidence of its biases and errors. It is a shocking indictment of how one form of junk science has led to scores of wrongful convictions and destroyed hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent lives and families. Tuerkheimer provides important historical context, a framework for understanding the roots of the problem as well as its persistence, and a roadmap out of the current quagmire. Flawed Convictions is an invaluable book that, well-heeded, will help prevent future miscarriages of justice." -Richard A. Leo, Dean's Circle Research Scholar and Professor, University of San Francisco School of Law Flawed Convictions is a brave and eye-opening expose of the wrongful convictions of innocent caregivers in the death of a child based on 'shaken baby syndrome' (SBS). With meticulous research and gripping excerpts from police interrogations and criminal trials, Deborah Tuerkheimer traces the disturbing progression of SBS, from the scientific origins of the diagnosis to its role as a prosecution paradigm in child homicide cases. She uncovers major flaws in the criminal justice system, and offers a variety of reforms that have the potential to end the misuse of SBS, while reminding us of the reluctance of prosecutors to admit they were wrong. Flawed Convictions is essential reading for anyone interested in understanding how grave errors occur in the criminal justice system and what it will take to correct them." -Dorothy Roberts, George A. Weiss University Professor of Law & Sociology, and Sadie & Raymond Pace Alexander Professor of Civil Rights, University of Pennsylvania
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