are to protect and defend defenseless children. It is a measure
of a civilized society. It is equally instinctive to
presume guilt. That tendency is even stronger when the accused
must prove a negative---that what he or she is accused of didn't
happen---and the accuser is a physician with a stack of degrees or,
equally potent, a child. These combinations have led to
countless criminal convictions: parents, day care providers,
teachers, neighbors---even when the charges cannot be supported by
objective scientific evidence, or when there was no physical evidence
at all to
support the claims.
second looks at many of these cases, acknowledging that we've convicted
innocent people, destroyed families and ruined childhoods. A
second look at the processes that led to these miscarriages of justice
is essential, because unless we learn from our mistakes, we will
continue to repeat them.
LIVE CRIMINAL LAW INFORMATION
Justice is pleased to join with LivePerson to bring you live,
online consultations with experts in criminal law, at low cost.
Follow the link on the main page, or click on the one here:
Shaken Baby Syndrome
great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie -- deliberate,
contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive, and
unrealistic. Belief in myths allows the comfort of opinion without the
discomfort of thought." ~ John F. Kennedy, 35th president of US
1961-1963 (1917 - 1963)
The Wrongful Conviction
of Clayton Mibroda
Highly Irregular Case of Brian Peixoto
Early in June, 2015, Paul Calusinski of
Carpentersville, Illinois, who has been fighting for
years to get his daughter, a convicted child killer, out of prison, got
an anonymous call on his cellphone. The man told Calusinski he
needed to have his attorneys get from
authorities the “second set” of X-rays of the 16-month-old boy that
Melissa Calusinski was convicted of killing at a Lake County day care
center where she worked in 2009. Now, those
X-rays, previously unknown to Melissa Calusinski’s
defense lawyers at trial, form a central part of a petition filed in
court Tuesday asking a judge to overturn the conviction of Calusinski,
now 28, or grant her a new trial.
A jury acquitted Mahmoud
Ibrahim of Selinsgrove, PA of attempted murder and
aggravated assault with regard to injuries to his infant son.
Defense expert Dr. John Galaznik testified
that there could have been a medical reason for the child's injuries,
and whatever happened to the infant occurred three to seven days
earlier. This was the first loss for the prosecution's expert, Dr.
Paul Bellino, who has helped prosecutors obtain 200 convictions for
shaken baby syndrome.
City, Iowa District Judge John Telleen has
found Peter Ranke not guilty of shaking and injuring his
newborn baby, sharply criticizing a doctor at University of Iowa
Hospitals and Clinics for mishandling the investigation into the
child's injuries. "Frankly, I have some serious
doubt whether a crime was even committed here," Judge Telleen said.
Brown. The state Supreme Court has ordered a
for LeeVester Brown, of Coahoma County,
Mississippi, who was convicted by the testimony of now-discredited Dr.
Steven Hayne, citing the now-disputed Shaken Baby Syndrome. His
conviction was thrown out because the trial judge refused to provide
him funds to hire an expert. At trial, Brown told
jurors he was innocent, saying he freely
spoke to police “because I didn’t have nothing to hide because I know I
didn’t do anything to hurt my baby.”
In 2007, when 4-month-old Lincoln Wilber died in her
care, Jennifer Hancock of Verona, WI quickly became authorities' only
suspect. Dr. Michael Stier, who performed Lincoln's autopsy,
testified the baby's subdural hematoma “was a marker
for non-accidental type of
injury.” Now Jennifer is in the fifth year of a 13-year prison
sentence, and he has changed his mind
Medical experts reviewing evidence in the 2007 death
4-month-old Lincoln Wilber disagree about what may have caused the
infant to become unresponsive while in the care of his provider,
Jennifer Hancock. New theories ranging from a
heart virus to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) to a blood clot have
Jennifer Del Prete, a former
Joliet, IL home day care worker convicted of shaking an infant to
death will be released from prison after new evidence came to light
that could point to her innocence. In 2005, she
was sentenced to the minimum 20 years for the death of 14-month-old
Isabella Zielinski. Her release is due in
part to evidence discovered by Northwestern University’s Medill Justice
Project. They discovered a 2003 letter
written by a police detective that stated the
pathologist who performed the infant's autopsy had significant doubts
that Del Prete had violently shaken the infant. Hidden evidence of
In 2001, in Greece, NY, 2 1/2-year old Brittany
died from a head injury sustained while in the care of Grace
Bailey. Bailey told police Brittney had fallen
from a chair and
hit her head on the floor. Two little boys also in the day care that
day later said the same thing, though both were judged too young to
testify. Bailey, now 54, was convicted by a jury
of second-degree murder. A hearing has been scheduled, with
"full-blown hearing with expert testimony" has now been scheduled, to
weigh the validity of the "shaken baby" evidence in light of new
evidence to the contrary. More SBS doubts.
Over the last 30 years, shaken-baby syndrome has
come to be considered one of the most heinous forms of child abuse.
Thousands nationwide have been prosecuted for harming or killing small
children in this way. The scales of justice in these cases often
tip on the word of doctors who say they can discern that intentional
shaking took place by the nature of the injuries suffered by the young
victims. Many physicians and prosecutors remain confident in
those judgments, but some critics say those doctors can be wrong. They
claim innocent people have been sent to prison. Shaken baby science
After 11-month-old Melissa Mathes died in her care,
Mary Weaver of Marshalltown, Iowa was charged with murdering the baby
by shaking her. She was tried, convicted, her conviction reversed
and then she was acquitted at retrial, all in a relatively short time. The
case against Mary is a good example of false or misleading forensic
evidence, perjury or false accusation. 20 years later,
Mary's case is still garnering national attention.
When San Francisco prosecutors dismissed charges
Kristian Aspelin in early December, 2012, it became just the latest
raise questions about how shaken baby syndrome is diagnosed. Aspelin,
who was accused of causing the death of his infant son, had one thing
in his favor: He had enough money to pay for medical experts who cast
doubt on the prosecution's theory. Dismissed case raises
questions about shaken baby diagnosis.
In 2002, Drayton Witt of Maricopa County, Arizona,
was found guilty of shaking his infant son to death. In
the intervening 12 years, doctors have learned that ongoing medical
problems like Steven’s can account for the retinal and subdural
bleeding they used to assume was caused by shaking, or by shaking and
blows to the head. More
importantly, the Medical Examiner who testified against him changed his
mind. The Arizona Court of Appeals has tossed Drayton's
conviction, and barred the state from retrying him. It has been a
long road home.
In 1999, Pamela Jacobazzi, a Bartlett, IL day care
provider, was convicted of killing 10-month-old Matthew Czapski after
the child lapsed into a coma while in her care and later died.
She was sentenced to 32 years in prison for "shaking" the infant.
Matthew's pediatric records, however, show he had sickle cell trait and
external hydrocephalus, factors not considered by the state's expert --
factors which could cause the child's death in precisely the manner it
for the state to admit its error.
In yet another case that should never have been
charged, Michael Hansen of Alexandria, MN, convicted of killing his
infant daughter in 2004, has won a new trial. He was released on
bail into the arms of his loved ones, telling the media, "I just want to be with my
UPDATE: September 16, 2011 -- The prosecutor has dropped all charges
against Mr. Hansen. He is a free man.
County, MN is investigating the work of Dr. Michael McGee,
who has served as the county's chief medical examiner for 26 years,
after a Douglas County judge found he gave false testimony in a murder
testimony helped secure the conviction of Michael Hansen
for the murder of his infant daughter in 2004. Douglas County Judge
Peter Irvine found in July that McGee gave false testimony about infant
skull fractures and about an accident that occurred six days before the
baby died. Or
was Dr. McGee just doing what was expected of him?
It took a jury only 2 hours to acquit former
daycare provider Deborah Parlock, of Chesterton, Indiana, of shaking a
6-month-old child in her care and causing his death. The prosecutions
experts, doctors with the University of Chicago’s Comer
Children’s Hospital, insisted that retinal bleeding meant the baby had
been beaten, even though he had no bruises or fractures. (Yes,
they get paid expert witness fees.) Fortunately, jurors are
beginning to see through the lack of evidence that permeates SBS
cases. A case
that should never have been charged.
The quasi-diagnosis of Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS)
started in the UK, and became a cottage industry for prosecution
experts there before leaping like a wildfire across the Atlantic to the
U.S. When Dr. Waney-Squier, a prominent British neuropathologist,
re-examined the criteria she had used as a prosecution expert and
realized it was wrong, she became the target of vicious personal and
professional attacks. And, as with the SBS "diagnosis" itself,
Scotland Yard has carried the fight to the US. Colin
Welsh, lead investigator at Scotland Yard’s child abuse investigation
command, told a US conference on SBS that defense experts should be
banned from criminal and family court trials, because they confuse
jurors and judges. Meanwhile, Dr. Waney-Squier warns that at least half of
all parents tried over shaken baby syndrome have been wrongly convicted.
Quentin Louis of Athens, Wisconsin, who has been
jailed for nearly six years, is one step
closer to having a second chance to prove he didn't shake his infant
daughter to death in 2005. A local judge granted him a new trial
in 2009 because the state's forensic pathologist changed his mind about
the cause of the baby's injuries, but the state appealed and it took
another two years for this decision, from the state court of
to convict, slow to clear.
From the New
York Times - Emily Bazelon examines the fierce disagreement and
shift in mainstream medical thinking regarding Shaken Baby
Faces New Questions in Court.
Shirley Ree Smith of Van Nuys, CA spent 10
years behind bars for the death of her grandson before her conviction
was overturned. Now she waits on skid row as the courts sort out
whether a jury's verdict — even if wrong — must prevail. A pawn in a legal
Former foster mother Tenesia Brown looked ahead
stoically for a
full minute after a jury found her not guilty of murdering a baby in
her care. But then the verdict visibly sank in, as she tearfully
attorney. Her husband, Marcus, on a bench just behind her, bowed his
head and wept. Fighting this charge for the past four years "was
the toughest thing
I've ever had to do because my wife was facing life in prison," Marcus
Brown said after the verdict Friday night. Not any more. Tenesia
Brown walked out of the Pinellas County criminal
courts complex facing no criminal charges for the first time since
2006. And you wonder why people don't want to be foster
good deed goes unpunished.
An acquittal should have brought Brian
Kalinowski's nightmare to
an end. Instead, it continues for the 33-year-old Palatine, IL man
not guilty of shaking and seriously injuring his infant son.
Kalinowski and his wife, who has not been implicated in any wrongdoing,
still face charges they abused and neglected their son, says defense
attorney Lawrence Lykowski. This despite a finding of not guilty from
Cook County Circuit Court Judge James Etchingham. A spokeswoman for the
Cook County State's Attorney confirmed an abuse case against the couple
is pending in juvenile court. They'll get you one
way or another.
Quentin Louis of Athens, WI and Tammy
Millerleile of Wausau, WI, both in Marathon County, were convicted of
fatally shaking babies in 2005 and 2002, respectively. But
in August of 2009, Marathon County Circuit Court Judge Vincent
Howard vacated Louis' conviction and granted him a new trial based on a
ruling that suggests medical evidence in shaken-baby cases is suspect.
Prosecutors are appealing the decision to retry the Louis case, but
in September, 2009, Howard also authorized payments for expert
review Millerleile's conviction. Re-opening shaken baby
cases to re-examine the science.
Fatima Miah of London, England, accused of shaking
her baby son to death, walked free from court after a
judge ordered jurors to clear her of manslaughter. The
judge said expert evidence was too divided for the jury to
come to a conclusion as he threw out the charge. Legal experts said his
decision would have serious implications for similar prosecutions up
and down the country. The science is flawed and
than 1,200 U.S. children are diagnosed with Shaken Baby Syndrome and
one in four of those children die from it. Dr.
Michael Laposata of Boston, MA believes in cases of
potential Shaken Baby Syndrome, the medical
community should perform a whole battery of blood tests rather than
performing the simplest or most common tests to be absolutely certain
of whether there's been child abuse. Too easy to play the
the Thursday before Labor Day, 2007, while Julianna Caplan of
Washington, DC was
changing the diaper on one of her twins, she heard a dull thud. She
turned around to see her other 8-month-old trying to push herself up
from the floor, where she'd been playing, and knock her head.
There were no bumps or bruises, but over the next few hours, the little
girl acted fussy, then altogether out of sorts. After she began
throwing up and drifting off to sleep, her parents grew concerned,
called the doctor and ended up at Children's Hospital. The
baby recovered fully within 24 hours, but Caplan and her husband,
Greg, remain trapped in the District's
frightening child-abuse system. Family Services Well
Done, or Overdone?
In the UK, new medical evidence could clear childminder
(babysitter) Keran Henderson,
who is serving a three-year prison sentence after being convicted of
shaking an 11-month-old girl to death. That new evidence comes
from this side of the Atlantic. Dr Chris Van Ee,
professor of biomechanics at Wayne State
University in Detroit, claims tests with crash dummies and corpses show
that falling off a sofa -- as the Caplan twin accidentally did -- does
far more damage than shaking. Conclusion: the
science behind shaken baby syndrome is flawed.
The Ventura County District Attorney’s Office has
charges against Cecila Garcia Cortes, who was accused of assaulting her
4-month-old daughter who died early in April, 2009. Chief
Medical Examiner Ronald O’Halloran ruled that
the death of Guadalupe Cardoza, from blunt-force trauma, was
an accident. The death was attributed to an accidental fall.
theory of shaken baby syndrome rests on core assumptions: shaking is
always intentional and violent; the injury an infant receives from
shaking is invariably severe; and subdural and retinal bleeding is the
result of criminal abuse, unless proved otherwise. Retinal
haemorrhage is one of the criteria used, and many doctors consider
retinal haemorrhage with specific characteristics pathognomonic of
shaking. However, in the March 27, 2004 issue of the British Medical
Journal, Patrick Lantz et al examine that premise and conclude
that it "cannot be supported by objective scientific evidence."
The Evidence for Shaken Baby
case against Jeffrey Galford of Elkins, WV for the death of an infant
in his care has been dismissed. The child died in 2003.
State Medical Examiner Dr. James Frost conducted an autopsy and ruled
the death homicide as the result of shaken baby syndrome. The
report, however, was not sent to the prosecutor until 2006, and Galford
was indicted in 2007. In early 2008, just before trial was
scheduled to begin, Dr. Frost reviewed the child's full medical history
-- something he had made no effort to do before declaring the death a
homicide or in the years thereafter. The baby's complex medical
history led Dr. Frost to conclude no intentional act against the child
could be proven. Why
the 5-year wait to review the baby's medical history?
Salcedo is a 38 year old nanny who was held in the Placer County,
CA jail since May, 2006 charged with the second degree murder of
16 month old Hannah Rose Juceam. Her first trial lasted six months and
ended in a mistrial due to a hung jury. While she waited to be retried,
the father of the deceased child waged a
widely advertised campaign in attempts to deny Mrs. Salcedo of her
rights to due process and presumption of innocence through
billboards and a purportedly educational website. After
another hung jury and mistrial -- with jurors voting 9 to 3 to acquit
-- prosecutors have decided not to try Veronica a third time.
the British Medical Journal
Case Report and Editorial (pdf files - use Adobe Acrobat Reader)
Association of Medical Examiners (N.A.M.E.) Ad Hoc Committee on Shaken
Baby Syndrome published its Position
Paper on Fatal Abusive Head Injuries in Infants and Young Children in
the American Journal of Forensic Pathology and Medicine in 2001.
This Position Paper is repeatedly cited and relied on to prosecute
people because it states that SBS is an accepted diagnosis. The
Position Paper was rejected
on peer review for lack of scientific basis -- but published anyway,
since two of the authors were N.A.M.E. Board members.
Click HERE to
read the peer review rejection for yourself (pdf
file - use Adobe Acrobat Reader).
This is a publicly available document which was obtained from the Ken
Marsh (see below) case file.
In the UK, a
nearly 300 cases in
were convicted of killing their young children has identified 28 where
there was "sufficient cause for concern to warrant further
consideration", the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, has told
Parliament. A further 89
cases of "shaken baby syndrome"
will be reconsidered in the light of a judgment from the Court of
Appeal expected in 2005, Lord Goldsmith promised. Three pending prosecutions have already been
abandoned "on the grounds that it was not safe to proceed". SBS: Dubious Diagnosis
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill were
taken aback at results of a radiology study looking into early brain
development. MRIs of normal, healthy infants found intracranial
bleeds in 26% of the babies. Intracranial
bleeding, which can cause serious brain damage or
even death, is one of the hallmark characteristics of Shaken Baby
Dr. Patricia Moore, a
former Harris County associate medical examiner accused of
botching an autopsy that led to a young mother's imprisonment has come
under scrutiny in several other cases in which her conclusions were
later contested or revised. Moore attributed
infant deaths to
shaken baby syndrome at a rate considerably higher than the rate at
which it happens in the general population. Biased Autopsies
what experts say is the first such ruling in the nation, a
Greenup (Kentucky) Circuit Court judge has barred the prosecution from
expert testimony that a baby was injured by shaking, unless there is
other evidence of abuse. Issuing identical rulings in two cases,
Judge Lewis Nichols cited
biomechanical studies that have concluded it's impossible
for an adult to shake an infant hard enough to cause the injuries used
to diagnose the syndrome -- hemorrhaging behind both retinas and
hematomas, or pools of blood, in the membranes of the brain. Not Letting Doctors
Diagnose Legal Conclusions
of Faulty Diagnoses by Dr. Charles Smith
Toronto, Ontario (Canada)
Toronto, Ontario (Canada), errors were found in 20 of 45 autopsies,
dating back as far as 1991, performed by former provincial pathologist
Dr. Charles Smith. Twelve
of those cases resulted in criminal convictions and one in a
finding of not criminally responsible.
The first to be exonerated was William
Mullins-Johnson, who spent 12 years in prison for the rape and
murder of his niece. A 2005 review of Dr. Charles Smith's autopsy
and diagnosis found the the child had not been raped or strangled, but
choked to death on her own vomit caused by a chronic stomach ailment.
10/15/07 - Mullins-Johnson
officially found innocent.
Sherrett, one of
the 12, convicted of killing her own infant son, is seeking a full
public inquiry into Dr. Smith's work. The 2006 review shows her
son was not
Reynolds spent 2 years in jail awaiting trial after Dr. Smith said
she stabbed her 7-year-old daughter, Sharon, to death with
scissors. Charges were dropped after it was demonstrated little
Sharon was mauled by a pit bull.
In 1998, Dr. Smith accused Louise and Marco
Trotta of suffocating their 4-month-old son, Paulo. Louise
served 5 years in prison; Marco was sentenced to 15 years, and had
served 9 years when the review indicated little Paulo suffocated on his
CBC In Depth takes a closer look at Dr. Charles Smith: The Man Behind the
UPDATE: 2/9/08 - Dr. Smith
South of the Border. On
March 21, 2000, Christopher Fuller of Hamilton, Ohio told
police his daughter Randi, almost 3 years old, choked on a glass of
water and held her breath. But after a grueling interrogation
not recorded, police claimed Fuller confessed to killing Randi when she
resisted his attempt to sexually assault her. He was charged with
capital murder, but the Hamilton authorities were apparently worried
about getting the death penalty, so they brought in Dr. Death, Dr.
Charles Smith of Ontario, Canada. Smith was already under
investigation for finding crimes where none existed in the deaths of
children. He came through for the Ohio boys. The jury not
convicted Fuller, they recommended death. Only Fuller's
clean record saved him from execution, but he still languishes in
prison, for the rest of his life.
was told in 1992 by his lawyers that
the country's leading forensic pathologist - Charles Smith
- was going to testify against him at his trial for murder in the death
of his five-week-old baby, and that his chances of an
acquittal were minuscule. Although he knew he was innocent of
causing any harm to his son, Dinesh accepted an extraordinarily lenient
sentence -- 90 days in jail -- and pled guilty to criminal negligence
causing death. Now that Dr. Smith has been exposed as a quack,
Dinesh is seeking to restore his good name.
|Harold Levy, author of The Charles
Smith Blog, tells us: I recently retired from the Toronto Star where I
have been reporting on Dr. Charles Randal Smith - a former pediatric
pathologist at the Hospital for Sick Children - for the past six years.
I intend, through this blog, to periodically report developments
relating to Dr. Smith in the context of the on-going public inquiry,
the on-going independent probe of cases he worked on between 1981 and
1991, and cases which have been launched, or will be launched in the
civil courts. I am currently researching a book on Dr. Smith and
would appreciate hearing from anyone who can provide me with useful
Daryl Steiner of Akron (Ohio) Children's Hospital has dedicated his
career to ferreting out cases of Shaken Baby Syndrome and leveling
abuse allegations against parents and caregivers -- 275 of them, so
far. "The ramifications of my diagnosis are huge," says Dr.
Steiner. Indeed, they are -- families torn apart, parents sent to
prison, to name a few. Everyone says Dr. Steiner is never
wrong. But he has been proven wrong twice recently. The fallibility of the
defense attorneys were ineffective, the Utah Supreme
Court ordered a new trial Tuesday for a man convicted of fatally
shaking his girlfriend's baby, who remained alive in a vegetative state
for 12 years. The
court's decision focused on brain images of the boy, Luther
Deem. A defense expert didn't see them until the morning of trial, and
a judge said that person was unqualified to interpret them. A fresh look at old evidence.
being accused of shaking a baby boy to death last October,
Cypress, CA neighborhood day-care operator Lorrie Mae Stoddard lost her
her standing in the community and many nights of sleep. Prosecutors
told a judge there was no evidence to back up the charges and the case
Deputy Dist. Atty. Sonia Balleste said a recent, more in-depth
brain analysis showed that 4-month-old Noah Samuel Gusto of Cypress did
not die from being shaken and that he suffered two of three brain
hemorrhages before Stoddard ever came in contact with him at the
day-care center in her Cypress home. No shaking happened.
Patricia Moore, a former Harris County associate medical examiner
of botching an autopsy that led to a young mother's imprisonment has
come under scrutiny in several other cases in which her conclusions
contested or revised.
Moore attributed infant deaths to shaken baby syndrome at a rate
higher than the rate at which it happens in the general
population. Biased Autopsies
UPDATE: Brandy Briggs,
accused by Dr. Moore of shaking her baby
to death, followed her lawyer's advice in 1999 and pled guilty to
to a child. Subsequent review demonstrated that the child died of
causes, and was neither abused nor neglected. Now the Texas
Court of Appeals has thrown out Briggs' conviction based on her
UPDATE: September 14, 2009 - The
Harris County (Texas) Medical Examiner's office has quietly
rewritten the results of a 1998 autopsy, prompting renewed innocence
claims on behalf of a baby sitter sent to prison nearly a decade ago
for allegedly shaking a 4-month-old infant hard enough to cause fatal
original autopsy classified the baby's death as a homicide
and was used by prosecutors as a key piece of evidence against Cynthia
Cash, now 53, a former nurse convicted of fatal injury to a child after
4-month-old Abbey Clements died after being rushed to the hospital from
Cash's home. But
the modified autopsy report made public in a new appeal calls the
cause of death “undetermined” and found no evidence of “trauma” in the
to back Dr. Moore, a team player.
than a month before Jamie and Ryan Page were to go on trial in
Oshkosh, WI for homicide in the death of an infant for whom they
provided day care, prosecutors have dismissed the charges. The
state continues to allege that the Pages caused the baby's death by
shaking him, but says it can't prove which of them did the
shaking. Perhaps medical testimony in Audrey Edmunds' case
(below) played a role. Charges Dropped.
Edmunds, a former Waunakee, WI baby sitter imprisoned for nearly 10
after being convicted in the shaken-baby death of a 7- month-old girl,
is seeking a new trial, arguing that the scientific evidence used to
convict her is no longer valid. "Since Audrey Edmunds' trial . . . a
large body of new scientific
evidence has emerged that supports her claim of innocence," according
to a brief seeking a new trial for Edmunds filed by attorneys and law
students for the Wisconsin Innocence Project. "Classic" symptoms
1/26/07 - In a two-day hearing, six physicians challenged the
validity of the evidence that convicted Audrey Edmunds in 1996.
Among them was the forensic pathologist who testified against her at
Confidence in SBS Diagnosis
Audrey Edmunds says life would have crushed her by now, if not for her
faith in God -- and her belief that she will soon be reunited with her
daughters. The Human Toll of
2/23/07 - In
tense, combative testimony, a medical witness for the state
forcefully rejected recent studies that raise doubts about
shaken baby syndrome. The
combative testimony of Dr. Betty Spivack reflects the divide
among physicians in shaken-baby cases. One camp believes certain signs
and symptoms are proof of abuse, while the other side argues that such
indicators also can be seen in children who've been sick or had minor
accidents. Defending the
2/24/07- One of the physicians who cared for Natalie Beard at
University (now UW) Hospital in the final hours of her life testified
Friday he's certain that the 7-month-old was shaken to death and that
the injury occurred shortly before she came to the hospital. "She died
from inflicted traumatic brain injury -- that is, she was shaken," said
Dr. William Perloff, retired head of pediatric intensive care for the
hospital. "In her case, there was evidence of her head hitting a
Than Simply Shaking, Doctor ...
UPDATE: 3/29/07 - Dane
County Circuit Judge Daniel Moeser has denied Audrey Edmunds a new
it came down to, Moeser said, was whether there was a
"reasonable probability" that a new jury, hearing the evidence
presented earlier this year and in 1996, would've reached a different
verdict. He determined it would not. Edmunds
supporter Michelle Urso of Waunakee said she believes
one thing is true: "There is no doubt in my mind that there is an
innocent woman sitting in jail. Not a single doubt." And the Innocent
Woman will Stay in Prison.
years after she was sent to prison on charges of shaking
a baby to death, a former Waunakee day-care provider should get a new
trial, a state appeals court has ruled. New
evidence in the case "shows that there has been a shift in
mainstream medical opinion since Edmunds' trial as to the cause of the
types of injuries Natalie (Beard) suffered," the three-judge panel
unanimously ruled. The Attorney
General is mulling whether to appeal the ruling.
UPDATE: The Attorney General decided not to appeal. Audrey
is finally a free woman.
days before he was to go on
trial for the shaking death of his infant son, Andy Houser of
Manchester, Tennessee was summoned
to his lawyer's office. Andy
Houser had been a murder defendant for
nearly two years. The allegation had already cost him heavily: his
marriage dissolved, a hoped-for career in law enforcement evaporated,
numerous friends abandoned him and strangers accusingly stared at him.
And his son was dead, a victim of shaken baby syndrome, police
said. Houser knew life could get worse. In three days,
prosecutors planned to
spell out their explanation of how Ethan died at the hands of the
father. A forensic pathologist would testify that Ethan's small brain
was bruised on both sides and that clotted blood was present, a sign of
fresh injury. In addition, tiny blood vessels on the surface of the
baby's right eye had ruptured. Both are telltale signs of a shaken
attorney Robert Carter handed his puzzled client a piece of paper, a
fax from the
state medical examiner's office. Near the top, in capital
letters, were three powerful words, whose
force still reverberate strongly in Coffee County: "Amended Autopsy
adds horror to father's grief for his baby
of Florida vs. Brian Patrick Herlihy
Circuit Court of Florida, Eighth Judicial Circuit,
Brian Herlihy was convicted of causing the death of Baby Robert, an
infant in his care, by violently shaking the child. None of the
physicians who testified as experts for the state reviewed the baby’s
prenatal and postnatal
medical records to learn about his pre-existing health problems, his
with corticosteroid, or his adverse reactions to vaccines. some of
these physicians were aware that Baby
Robert suffered from chronic health conditions such as a chronic
bleed, brain atrophy, and sinus and ear infections. However, they did
any attempt to investigate the links between the baby’s chronic
his respiratory arrest on the morning of August 2, 2000. The evidence
shows that Brian was convicted
and imprisoned due to sloppy and
incomplete medical investigations.
to read the report (MS Word format) of Dr. Mohammed
Al-Bayati, toxicologist and pathologist. Then decide for yourself, and
demand justice for Brian Herlihy.
Ken Marsh spent 21 years in
California prisons for a crime that never happened. He was
convicted in 1984 of murdering 2-year-old Kenneth Buell based on
testimony of treating physicians -- with no independent corroboration
-- who were seeking to protect themselves from malpractice
was reversed without an evidentiary hearing based on insufficiency of
the medical expert evidence.
and his attorney, Tracy Emblem, have generously made available
extensive forensic resources utilized in his case for the benefit of
other innocent people facing similar charges. Visit Free Ken Marsh
|In 1999, Alan Yurko of Orlando, FL
was convicted of shaking his 10-week-old son to death and sentenced to
life without parole. But the autopsy performed by Dr. Stashio
Gore doesn't come close to minimum standard of care -- and Dr.
Gore admits to all the Bad
2nd Appellate District Court has overturned Jose
Salazar's murder conviction in the death of Adriana Krygoski.
conviction was based on the testimony of LA Dep. Coroner James Ribe,
who claimed that "shaken baby" injuries -- in this instance,
intracranial bleeding -- could be accurately "timed" and therefore used
to identify the assailant. This "theory" has been discredited by
medical science. It is just one of numerous cases in which Dr.
Ribe has woven a Web
Victims of Dr. Joan Wood
nearly a quarter century, the citizens of Florida's Pinellas and Pasco
Counties suffered with an incompetent and corrupt Medical Examiner, Dr.
Joan Wood. Some suffered more than others.
|Little Donovan Wright’s death
was a tragedy. The tragedy was compounded by the testimony of a
medical expert who claimed he could reliably time Donovan's critical
injury to a period when the child was in the care of his father, Doug
Wright. Doug was convicted of killing his son. Now the
doctor acknowledges his testimony was faulty; he was wrong. But
he is unconcerned because he can't remember either Donovan or Doug. Forgotten by Justice
UPDATE: 4/9/07- Old Report Brings
New Hope for Doug Wright. A police accident report, withheld
from the defense at the time of Doug's trial, proves that Donovan
Wright was in a 99 mph car crash one month before his death.
Donovan did not receive medical care immediately after the crash, and
could have sustained his ultimately-fatal injuries in the wreck -- not at the hands of his father.
Louis, 28, of Athens, WI was convicted in 2006 and was sentenced to 20
years in prison on accusations that he shook his 4-month-old daughter,
Madelyn, to death. In
a written ruling released in August, Marathon County Circuit
Court Judge Vincent Howard vacated Quentin Louis' conviction on a
first-degree reckless homicide charge and ordered that a new trial be
scheduled. Judge Howard found that medical advances in the past
few years call the verdict into question. The State, of
course, is appealing this decision.
Syndrome by Proxy
Another theory unsupported by objective scientific evidence
MAMA/M.A.M.A.: Munchausen Syndrome
What you don't know can destroy
your family, send you to prison and even cost your children their
"Mama/M.A.M.A. " is a
groundbreaking film that examines Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, a
bizarre form of supposed child abuse in which a mother pretends her
child is ill - or actually makes her child sick- in order to get the
sympathy and praise of the medical community. The film scrutinizes the
scientific research surrounding the allegation and, in so doing,
questions the very
diagnosis itself. Visit the companion website. See the
film. Protect yourselves and your children.
of the following may put a mother in the MSbP “frame”: if
the doctor can find nothing wrong with the child; if tests are
negative; if mum demands other opinions; if she has an “unhealthy”
interest in things medical; if she exaggerates the child’s condition;
and, of course, if she denies making it all up. For the health service,
MSbP is a cheap solution to difficult cases. Some doctors call it a
sexy diagnosis. Catchphrase that
Convicts Overanxious Mothers
cases of more than 250 parents
convicted of killing their babies are to be reviewed urgently after a
landmark Court of Appeal ruling on January 19, 2004 changed the rules
death prosecutions. The Court ruled
that in future no parent who had lost two or more
babies should be prosecuted if the case relied solely on expert
evidence that was disputed by other professionals who believed that the
death could have been caused by natural, if unexplained, causes. US Needs Similar
The cot death
expert at the centre of a series of high profile cases
against women accused of killing their babies is to face a professional
conduct committee. Sir Roy Meadow invented "Munchausen by Proxy
Syndrome", a theory that has punished grieving parents and destroyed
families on both sides of the Atlantic. His pseudoscience
continues to thrive in the US, but in the UK, authorities are
questioning his Fitness
CBS 60 Minutes II examined
just a handful of UK cases in which mothers were convicted of murdering
their children on the word of Roy
Meadow alone, without Meadow ever seeing the children or the
mothers. If you missed the segment, broadcast in April, 2004, you
need to read the summary. Expert Testimony, Bad
Child Protection and Social Care Management Consultant Charles Pagnell
examines Fabricated and/or Induced Illness in Children (popularized by
Sir Roy Meadow as "Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome") and finds the Theoretical Basis is
Physical/Mental Abuse Allegations
Harris of Chicago, Illinois was 23 and a recent college graduate who
had just moved
back to Chicago with her family when she was convicted of murder in the
2005 death of her 4-year-old son Jaquari Dancy. But Harris has long
maintained that the confession that helped convict her was false and
that Jaquari died accidentally. Jaquari
was found in the family's Northwest Side home with an
elastic bedsheet cord wrapped around his neck. Her son Diante, then 5,
authorities at the time that he was alone with Jaquari when he saw him
wrap the cord around his neck while playing, but the trial judge barred
Diante from testifying. But
in the ruling overturning her guilty verdict, 7th
U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judges
wrote that Diante's testimony "would have changed the entire tenor" of
Harris' case and supported her claims that Jaquari's death was
accidental and her confession false. Finally free to
April, 2007, an infant suffered
cardiac arrest shortly after arriving at the day care operated by
Lisa Randall in suburban Phoenix, Arizona. He was rushed to the
hospital but died a few days later. In November of that year,
Lisa Randall was indicted by a grand jury for murder, based on the
testimony of pediatricians who said the baby died due to blunt force
trauma to his head. When former DA Andrew Thomas faced stiff
opposition in his bid for re-election, he upped the ante by seeking the
death penalty against Lisa. He lost, but Lisa still faced being
sentenced to death. Finally, three years after the child's death,
two defense experts and a prosecution expert agreed that the child died
from natural causes, and the charges against Lisa Randall were
not an isolated incident in Maricopa County.
October 2, 2006, Hannah Overton of Corpus Christi, TX and her
husband rushed their foster son to a hospital, where the child died of
salt poisoning related to an
eating disorder that led him to gorge and to consume strange
objects. Less than a year later, Hannah was convicted of capital murder based on the theory
that she waited too long--less than an hour--before rushing the boy to
the hospital. Bennett
Gershman, a nationally recognized expert on prosecutorial misconduct,
reviewed Hannah's case and stated, “A conviction for capital murder
can’t rest on such a flimsy,
almost incredibly thin reed, as this one rests on. It rests on sand."
UPDATE: On December 16, 2014, Hannah was released on $50,000
bond, pending the retrial that Nueces County DA Mark Skurka says he
will pursue, again for capital murder. Her release comes over two
months after the highest appellate court in Texas overturned her murder
conviction and life sentence.
UPDATE: On April 8, 2015, all charges against Hannah were
2005, Suzanne Holdsworth of Seacroft, Leeds, UK, was jailed for life
for a little boy's murder. But a damning investigation by John Sweeney,
a reporter with the London Daily Mail,
found police had missed key evidence. Days after being found not guilty
at re-trial and released, Suzanne told her haunting story to the man
who helped clear her. Justice Delayed.
Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2008, exactly four years after officials with
the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services raided the
primitive therapeutic camp in Smithville known as Woodside Trails and
removed nearly 40 boys, camp administrator Betty Lou "Bebe" Gaines
settled a federal lawsuit against nine DFPS employees. In her suit,
Gaines charged the officials had deprived her of due process rights in
branding her neglectful of her wards, closing the camp, and effectively
ending her career. Vindication.
County, Mississippi officials have dropped murder charges against
Hattie Douglas in connection with the death of her son Kadarrius.
test results showed that Douglas' son had an alcohol
level of 0.4 percent when he died May 11, 2006. But an independent
pathologist's report said tests came back with conflicting results. The
independent pathologist ruled the child died of
pneumonia. A doctor
prescribed an iron supplement for Kadarrius, which contained a small
percentage of alcohol. Hattie still faces
a battle to get her four other children back.
|After nearly two years of hell
following the tragic death of their 14-year-old daughter, the criminal
cases against Lynnette and Roman Finnegan of Franceville, IN have been
Lynnette and Roman Finnegan thought
the worst was
over when they buried their little girl. But at a time when the family
tried to pull together, it was torn apart by criminal charges. Bout with legal system
breaks family's hearts.
But how much
damage can be caused when a teenager dies because of medical
malpractice, an incompetent forensic pathologist can't tell the
difference between pre-mortem injuries and artifacts of autopsy, and a
"child protection" system marches on in its destruction of the family,
in blind disregard of the findings that the death was caused by medical
malpractice? Roman and Lynette Finnegan know, and they tell us, In Their Own Words.
Twelve-year-old J. Daniel
Scruggs of Meriden, Connecticut was bullied so relentlessly at school
that the Conn. Dept. of Children and Families, after inspecting his
home, suggested his mother keep him out of school until a transfer
could be arranged. A few days later, the boy hanged himself in
his closet. Then the local prosecutor charged his grieving
mother, Judith Scruggs, with keeping such a dirty house that it
prompted the boy to commit suicide. A jury agreed and convicted
Scruggs of causing her child's suicide. The Connecticut Supreme
Court has overturned her conviction -- So Little, So Late.
Darke County, Ohio prosecutor has said
he is closing the homicide investigation into the death of 5-year-old
Daniel Crow Jr. because a rare genetic disease may be the cause of the
boy's death, not abuse. It's too late for the rest of the
Their other children were seized by the state and adopted by other
first, Verlie Hicks of Peoria, Illinois was frightened and confused
when she was
arrested, held naked in a mental health unit at the Peoria County Jail
because she refused to remove braids from her hair, and falsely accused
of burning a baby in her care with cigarettes. Now she's angry and is
looking for a lawyer. Guilty Until
Through the prism of a defamation suit, a federal judge in
Atlanta has examined the 1996 murder case of 6-year-old Colorado beauty
queen JonBenét Ramsey and determined there is "virtually no
evidence" to support theories that her parents killed her. U.S.
Julie E. Carnes, a former federal prosecutor, evaluated
evidence that the Ramseys, Patsy Ramsey in particular, were responsible
for their daughter's slaying. In her analysis, Carnes sharply
criticized the botched investigation that followed the discovery of
JonBenét's body; accused Boulder police of using the media to
target the Ramseys; and stated that the Ramseys, despite widespread
criticism to the contrary, attempted to cooperate fully with detectives
investigating their daughter's murder.
Five years after Judge Carnes
figured it out, two years after Patsy Ramsey died, Boulder
County, CO DA Mary Lacy has cleared JonBenét
Ramsey's parents and brother of any involvement in her death. "No
innocent person should have to endure such an extensive trial in the
court of public opinion," she told John Ramsey. "Touch DNA" makes it
Allegations of Sexual Abuse
Michael Seri. In
2001, Michael Seri of Newtown, CT was charged with masturbating in
front of a 15-year-old Girl Scout at the town’s public library, even
though the victim described her attacker as a Hispanic man with dark
hair, while Seri was white and balding. The girl failed to pick Seri
out of a police lineup. At trial, however, she and two witnesses
identified Mr. Seri as the perpetrator. In June, 2002, while Mr.
Seri was in prison, another girl saw a Hispanic man masturbating at the
same library. With help from his uncle, a retired FBI agent, Mr.
Seri was able to show that a convicted sex offender committed both
crimes. Even with that, it took Mr. Seri until 2015 to completely
clear his name.
Craft, Former Georgia Teacher, Acquitted of
In 1998, Mario Vasquez of Green Bay, WI was convicted of molesting a
4-year-old girl. Seventeen years later, the victim, now 21 years
old, says that her uncle and her father molested her, but Mr. Vasquez
did not. His conviction has been overturned and he has been freed.
Ritual Abuse. Among
the atrocities that Frances and Dan Keller of Austin, TX were supposed
to have committed while running a day care center out of their Texas
home: drowning and dismembering babies in front of the children;
killing dogs and cats in front of the children; transporting the
children to Mexico to be sexually abused by soldiers in the Mexican
army; dressing as pumpkins and shooting children in the arms and legs;
putting the children into a pool with sharks that ate babies; putting
blood in the children’s Kool-Aid; cutting the arm or a finger off a
gorilla at a local park; and exhuming bodies at a cemetery, forcing
children to carry the bones. Unbelievable -- but a jury convicted
them and sent them to prison for 48 years. Now even the DA agrees
their trial was unfair. But it was not isolated. It was
part of modern-day witch hunt. What the hell happened?
C. Montgomery went to prison solely on the word of a
teenager who claimed the former Hampton, Virginia resident sexually
when she was 10 years old. Alarms sounded from the courthouse to
the governor's office this month
when it was learned she lied. Of the questions raised by the tragic
case, one of the most serious is how Montgomery was found guilty beyond
a reasonable doubt.
Ramirez, Kristie Mayhugh, Anna Vasquez and Cassandra Rivera. Sitting
in the Texas prison where she's spent nearly half of her
Elizabeth Ramirez is stunned by the words that could help exonerate her
and three friends of the sexual assault of her two nieces, a crime she
said she couldn't fathom let alone commit. It never happened, one
niece now says of the debauched, orgy-like
nightmare that she and her older sister described to San Antonio police
in 1994 when they were 7 and 9. “I want my aunt and her friends
prison,” Stephanie, 25, said by
phone last week. “Whatever it takes to get them out I'm going to do. I
can't live my life knowing that four women are sleeping in a cage
because of me.”
November 17, 2013 - Three of the four San Antonio
women, now known as the “San Antonio Four,” could be released on bond
by a judge Monday, November 18th. They have maintained their innocence
since being accused in the bizarre assault of Ramirez's two young
nieces nearly 20 years ago. Vasquez was released on parole last year.
years ago, a Jackson, Mississippi jury convicted Jeff Havard
of brutally raping and killing six-month-old Chloe Britt while he was
caring for her, and he was sentenced to death. After all,
testified the baby had been raped, and police said she was "ripped from
end to end." Turns out, no, that's not what happened. Baby
not sexually abused; she died because of a tragic fall. But Jeff
Havard still awaits execution.
UPDATE: April 2, 2015 -- The Mississippi Supreme Court
unanimously ruled that death row inmate Jeffrey Havard can proceed with
an evidentiary hearing to challenge his murder conviction. A
favorable ruling in that hearing could then result in a new trial.
Dallas man who spent 14 years in prison for doggedly refusing
to admit he sexually assaulted his stepdaughter was set free on
November 4, 2011 in
a case that had been unraveling since the victim recanted and former
prosecutors were accused of withholding evidence. State District
Judge Susan Hawk told Dale Lincoln Duke, 60, it was a
"privilege" to release him, triggering applause and a standing ovation
in a courtroom that included his parents.
year after being acquitted of molestation charges lodged by a student
angry over being disciplined, Fairfax County, Virginia Sean Lanigan is
still suffering -- and still being punished by the Fairfax County
Below are links to recent articles concerning the Arena Brothers of
Bell County, Texas. Michael Arena’s case is pending before the
Court. John Arena’s cause has been taken on by the Innocence
of Texas Southern University’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law.
failure to disclose that hypnosis was used to help
a witness recover memories of alleged sex abuse as a child does not
invalidate a defendant's guilty plea, a federal appeals court has
2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to grant the
habeas petition sought by Jesse Friedman, who was seeking to undo his
1988 guilty plea in a molestation case that rocked Nassau County, N.Y.,
and became the subject of the documentary "Capturing the
While the Court denied the appeal, the judges urged the Nassau DA to
reopen the case.
July 30, 2010, it took a jury 20 minutes to decide Belmond Klemme, Iowa
teacher Jodi Lynn Barrus' fate. She was found not guilty of
engaging in a pattern, practice or scheme of sexual exploitation of an
18-year-old male student. The teen had a history of making up
on the Tonya Craft witch hunt in Catoosa County, Georgia: Truth for Tonya and William L. Anderson Blog
Velez walked into Superior in Milford, CT on April 29, 2010, accused of
committing vile acts against a child, but walked out a free man,
exonerated of all charges against him. At
the end of a four-day trial, a jury deliberated for just two
hours before finding Velez, 45, of New Haven, CT,
innocent of raping a 9-year-old male relative in the boy’s West Haven
home. But the
allegation alone is poison.
2008, Waynesville, NC resident Donald “Pete” McCracken Jr., 40,
was indicted on a charge of first-degree rape — a B1 felony that, at
the time, carried a minimum sentence of 16 years in prison, with a
maximum sentence of up to life without parole. Almost
14 months later, the alleged victim recanted the accusation and
the charge against McCracken was dismissed. He was declared innocent.
But it cost him more than $100,000 and a “year of hell” to clear his
name. Still, he fears his reputation may be tainted beyond
high cost of innocence.
Parks" spent almost three years in prison for molesting his two
young daughters. He spent another 15 years living with the stigma of
being a registered sex offender.
All because of what they now say is a lie. In 2008, his
now-adult daughters changed their story and he was
exonerated. Such recantations are not unusual, but being declared
innocent by the courts is rare.
"I didn't want to die with a lie."
Battle Creek, MI judge has ordered a new trial for
Lorinda Swain, who has steadfastly maintained her innocence since being
accused of a sex crime with her son.
Judge Conrad Sindt ordered the new trial after hearing two days of
testimony that included new witnesses and her son, who recanted his
original statement. Saying
what they wanted to hear.
UPDATE: May 1, 2011 - In 2010, the Michigan Court of Appeals
reversed Judge Sindt, reinstating Lorinda Swain's conviction. The
state supreme court declined to hear the matter, and she will have to
return to prison to complete her 25 year sentence.
UPDATE: - The Michigan Court of Appeals reinstated Lorinda's
conviction, and in December, 2010, the Michigan Supreme Court refused
to hear her case. She will be headed back to prison, despite the
overwhelming evidence of her innocence. Click HERE
for the Detroit Free
Press editorial regarding this travesty.
UPDATE: Aug. 23, 2013 - Judge Sindt, after hearing the
testimony of another witness who had been suppressed at trial, has
again reversed Lorinda's conviction. Prosecutor Susan Maladenof
can appeal Judge Sindt’s order again, try the case with no witnesses
and no physical evidence, or dismiss the charges.
In 1980, a teenage girl saw Donald Burke
on a city street and identified him as the man who had raped her more
than a year earlier. To his horror, Donald, who has asserted his
innocence from the first day, was convicted and sentenced to 50 years
in prison. He was released in 1999, but wears the Sex Offender
scarlet letter, a badge of shame he has not earned. He wants DNA to set
UPDAE: September 22, 2009: Unfortunately, no DNA could be
extracted from hair samples by conventional testing, according to a
state crime lab report received by Mr. Burke's attorney.
Link: "By the time he was taken off
to prison in 1994, payouts for such claims against priests promised to
surpass the rosiest dreams of civil attorneys.... By the end of 2004,
the Diocese audit showed a total of $22,210,400 -thus far- in
settlements." The Wall Street Journal,
April 27, 2005. Friends
of Fr. Gordon MacRae
UPDATE: May 10, 2013: Wall
Street Journal Editorial Board Member Dorothy Rabinowitz
examines Fr. Gordon MacRae's conviction, and finds it without
Trials of Fr. MacRae.
In 1989, Larry Murphy
of Yadkin, NC was convicted of sexually molesting his daughter.
In 2002, Julie Murphy, as an adult, recanted her allegations against
her father. Although Larry was convicted based on Julie's word
alone, her recantation is not enough to free him.
had taken Dana Nachman and Don Hardy three years and $20,000 — most
of which they had charged to their bruised and battered credit cards —
to prepare their documentary, "Witch Hunt," for a run at the major film
festivals. Then it took another year to get the documentary, a
look at wrongful convictions that
sent several Bakersfield, California residents to prison on false child
charges, past rejection by the Tribeca Film Festival, and shown at the
Los Angeles and Toronto film festivals. How the cops
brainwashed the kids. Click HERE to view
used to be that all you needed for a conviction was a vague allegation
of sexual abuse by a very young child and a signed confession by a day
care worker. But jurors in Franklin, NC are picky. In
Michael Bradley's case, they demanded actual evidence. All that
the state could give them was the word of a detective who thinks he can
tell in minutes if someone is guilty and will use harsh techniques
against a timid person to coerce a conviction to a crime that may not
have happened at all. Their verdict: Not Guilty.
this scenario: Your employer gives you a laptop computer that is a
bomb full of child porn, and then you get fired, and then you get
prosecuted as some kind of freak. That's what happened to
Massachusetts state employee Michael Fiola. Now defense and
prosecution computer experts agree that
the laptop was running corrupted virus-protection software,
and Fiola was hit by spammers and crackers bombarding its memory with
images of incest and pre-teen porn not visible to the naked eye. It was a bum rap.
Since Fiola's employer, the Massachusetts Department of Industrial
Accidents (DIA), provided him with the infected laptop in the first
place, you'd expect an apology and an offer of reinstatement,
right? Wrong! The DIA stands by the
wrongs it has committed against Fiola.
Just when you think you've seen it all ...
Ted White of Lee's Summit, MO served 5 years of a 50-year sentence
after he was falsely convicted of sexually molesting his
step-daughter. His conviction was overturned in 2005, and he was
acquitted at re-trial. Lee's Summit police detective Richard
McKinley, who was having an affair with White's then-wife, Tina, framed
White on false charges to get rid of him. Tina subsequently
married McKinley, and Ted White is suing them both. The U.S.
Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit has ruled that White has a right to sue.
It started with a phone call from CPS,
telling North Texas home builder Douglas Buchar that his 12-year-old
adopted daughter had accused him of sexually assaulting him. Over
the next two years, his wife was also charged, although the charges
were dismissed, and the couple lost their business, their home and
their two biological children. A jury has found him not guilty of
the sexual assault charge. But getting his kids back
is a separate, uphill battle.
NY school custodian Francis Evelyn once walked proud, worked hard
and looked forward to a peaceful retirement.
Now he's too scared to go out his front door.
Five months after his face was broadcast worldwide as an accused child
rapist, Evelyn, 58, can't sleep. He can't stop the tears. He can't wipe
away the nightmare of being arrested, jailed and wrongly accused.
falsely accused of child rape sues for $10 Million.
The nightmare began for Rodger Jones of
Orlando, Florida in August of 2004, when his youngest daughter accused
him of molesting her, a charge Jones absolutely and unequivocally
denies. His first trial ended in a hung jury. Jones was
convicted at his second trial in 2005, a conviction that the Fifth
District Court of Appeals concluded rested on claims that Jones
committed more serious offenses in another jurisdiction -- claims that
were never charged, much less proven. When the Court of Appeals
reversed Jones' conviction, the Orange County judge continued to refuse
to allow Jones' release from prison. The Court of Appeals had to
order his release.
Jones, who is awaiting his third
trial on the same charges, tells us: "I am 54 years old and must
have been sleeping all those years not to realize that the trial courts
and the prosecutors in this country are so corrupt only looking for the
conviction and not the truth. The people of this country need to be
told about the state of affairs in the judicial system in this country.
Until this happened to me I thought that this country was a very good
country to live in. The people of this country need to vote to change
the system back to what our founding fathers wanted. Without the
knowledge of the broken system though people will not know to make the
Click HERE to
read the Court of Appeals decision.
Golebiewski was 23 in 1983 when a Lucas County (Ohio) Common
Pleas Court jury convicted the North Toledo woman of using a toy gun to
sexually assault her daughter and then killing her. A
convicted thief testified at trial that Elizabeth
had confessed to her during conversations in jail that she
had killed the child, offering grisly details that authorities contend
only investigators and the killer would have been aware of at the
time. Elizabeth's request for DNA testing of the toy gun and
evidence has been granted. And, while it is a long shot, DNA
tissue from someone other than the mother or child might just be enough
to prompt a judge to review the 1983 conviction. Hard Won Long Shot
It took egregious misconduct by both
police and prosecutors to hold
together a case against teacher James Perry long enough for a jury to
convict him of molesting 2 kindergarteners in suburban Detroit's
Oakland County. Well, it was either deliberate misconduct or
folks really believe that "Harry Potter" and "The Lion King" are
"nonerotic pornography." If you need your hair curled, read the
following news reports:
Bakersfield, CA, Kern County DA Ed
Jagels put two dozen innocent people behind bars on charges that they
molested their own kids -- while ignoring evidence that his friends
were throwing orgies with teenage boys. So why is one of America's most
reckless prosecutors still in power? Mean Justice's
a halt to the worst witch hunt in U.S. history, 43 adults were falsely
on 29,726 fabricated charges of child sex abuse involving 60 children.
Sunday school teachers and a local pastor were indicted and many were
of raping their own children and the children of other members of a sex
Innocent people were railroaded into prison, and their children were
into foster care. Conservative Columnist Paul Craig Roberts
details How a
Mantra Ate Justice
Smith and Joseph Allen were convicted of sexually abusing young
children in August of 1994. Smith, a 37-year-old single mother
with four children, was a bus driver for the Lorain, Ohio Head Start.
The prosecution charged that after delivering the children to
school, she would sometimes keep three or four of them and take them to
a mysterious location, where she and a man known to the children only
as "Joseph" would commit various sexual acts with them, make
them drink urine, and poke them with needles and sticks. But an
examination of the police investigation leaves many disturbing
questions; questions about the children's testimony, questions about
whether Smith and Allen even knew each other -- questions about
whether, in fact, any crimes were committed at all. Imaginary Crimes
UPDATE: 2/22/07 - Nancy
Smith’s bid for freedom Tuesday was rejected for a number of reasons,
including a parole board official’s opinion that she hadn’t served
enough time after being convicted of molesting children while she was a
Head Start bus driver in the 1990s. They Want a
Confession to Crimes She did not Commit
UPDATE: 2/4/09 - Investigator Martin Yant, who has helped to free
12 innocent people, has worked on Nancy
Smith's case for 13 years. He has obtained piles of
evidence that prove her innocence of charges she molested four young
children. That evidence can get Nancy a re-trial, or at least
re-sentencing. Shining Light on
UPDATE: 2/4/09 - Nancy Smith freed on
6/24/09 - Nancy
Smith and Joseph Allen Acquitted.
UPDATE: 1/29/11 - Ohio Supreme Court
reinstates Nancy Smith's conviction, orders her returned to prison.
12/11/09: Merry Christmas, Nancy and Joseph. The Ohio
General has joined local prosecutors to challenge the acquittals of
Nancy Smith and Joseph Allen. In
court documents filed with the 9th District Court of Appeals, they
claim that Lorain
County Common Pleas Judge James Burge didn’t have the authority to
acquit them. The State of Ohio wants Nancy and Joseph back in
It's not about truth. It has nothing to do with justice.
winning, and maintaining every win at all costs.
October, 2004, Kevin Fox of Wilmington, Illinos was arrested following
a 14-hour interrogation in which investigators said he confessed to
molesting and murdering his 3-year-old daughter Riley in June of the
same year. The prosecutor, just days away from a hotly contested
re-election bid that he ended up losing, vowed to seek the death
penalty. A sheriff's officer called the FBI Lab at Quantico,
in November and told them to stop working on DNA evidence sent there
for analysis. Kevin's attorney convinced the new prosecutor to
the evidence to a private lab for testing, and the DNA test results
"absolutely" exclude Kevin. Charges that could have led to his
execution have been dropped. Riley's killer remains free. Political Overkill
5/28/10 - Riley Fox's killer, identified by DNA as Scott Wayne Eby, has
been charged with abducting the 3-year-old from her own bed, raping and
murdering her. After putting the Fox family through hell with the
bogus charges against Kevin, then losing a $15.5 Million lawsuit for
malicious prosecution, Will County Sheriff Paul Kaupas has apologized
to the Foxes. Well, sort of. He had a spokesman do it on
his behalf. So
Little, So Late.
he was convicted in 1985 of
raping five children, Bernard Baran of Pittsfield, MA joined the ranks
of a new kind of
criminal gripping the nation's attention: a child molester who used his
job at a daycare to prey on his victims. Two
decades after he began serving three life sentences, a Superior
Court judge has ruled that Baran should receive a new trial, and his
supporters are hopeful that he will be cleared of any wrongdoing.
Prove His Innocence
Vancouver, WA police officer
Clyde Ray Spencer spent nearly 20 years in prison after he was
convicted of sexually molesting his son and daughter. Now, the children
say it never
Cases to Consider
is a very disturbing case that may give ammunition to those
who fear that juvenile courts, where there is less
advocacy, less investigation, less use of DNA testing, and great
to plea bargain, may be a breeding ground for wrongful convictions,
particularly false confessions and false guilty pleas.
John Michael Harvey
Eleven years into a
40 year sentence, John's innocence is finally being examined.
Texas prosecutor says faulty physical exams performed by a former nurse
may have resulted in wrongful conviction of some defendants in child
sex abuse cases. 170 Potential
Rodriguez, the only way to freedom
was to confess to sex crimes he — and one of his alleged victims — says
he did not commit. Predator or Prey?
Joaquin County, California Superior Court Judge Stephen Demetras
ordered the release of 36-year-old Peter Rose after 10 years of
incarceration. Convicted of sexually assaulting a 13 year-old
girl in 1994, Rose was sentenced to 27 years in prison. With no
history of violent crime or sexual assault, Rose has maintained his
innocence from the beginning. DNA testing has proved him
has also shown the tragic results when police browbeat a child into
accusing the person they have already decided is guilty.
Sylvester's case is yet another
example of how pressuring children to make false allegations leads to
wrongful convictions. In 1984, two young girls were molested by
their cousin who was also a juvenile. Their grandmother, thinking
the cousin would be sent to prison, convinced the girls to accuse
Sylvester Smith instead. Now grown, the victims have recanted and
are supported by the trial testimony of one of them -- she told the
defense attorney her grandmother said to accuse Smith.
became fugitives in 1984 following accusations that they abused their
4-year-old daughter left jail feeling vindicated after prosecutors
dropped the charges, but said their lives had been ruined. Edward
and Karri LaBois fled Minnesota with
their daughter 19 years ago after the abuse accusation was made. They
were arrested in 2003 when an informant tipped police that they were
living in a Salt Lake City suburb. Sex
Abuse Witch Hunt Scam
Calls an "Ironclad" Conviction into Question
of Child Molestation Charges
by Joel Erik Thompson, Esq.
WGBH Forum Network Lecture
J. McNally, professor, psychology, Harvard
Adler, professor, Northeastern School of Journalism
horrific experiences indelibly fixed in a victim's memory? Or does the
mind protect itself by banishing traumatic memories from consciousness?
How victims remember trauma is the most controversial issue in
psychology today, spilling out of consulting rooms and laboratories to
capture headlines, rupture families, provoke legislative change, and
influence criminal trials and civil suits. A clinician and laboratory
researcher, Richard McNally challenges the ready acceptance of a notion
he says goes beyond common sense. He contends that traumatic
experiences are indeed unforgettable and the evidence for repressed
memories is surprisingly weak.
Re-examining the Process
G. Brock, MA, LLP, CSW is licensed as both a master’s level
psychologist and a certified social worker. He is in private practice
at Counseling and Evaluation Services in Wyandotte, MI. Brock has been
in the therapy field since 1974 and, in the past five years, custody
evaluations have become the majority of his practice. Brock has done
over 200 evaluations. Brock re-examines how the criminal justice
system balances---or fails
to balance---the interests of truth and justice with those of child
| The Yakov
Trakhtenberg case in Michigan illustrates what is wrong with the way
child sex abuse cases are handled in this country. When an
allegation is made and forensic interviewing of the child finds no
abuse, the case need not end there. There is no limit to the
number of subsequent allegations that can be made, and each one
triggers reinvestigation. Michael Brock, MA,
LLP, CSW explains how this allows vindictive spouses to wage war
against the other parent, using tunnel-vision police investigators to
do so. And it's just the Tip of the Iceberg.
Michael Brock, MA,
LLP, CSW, examines the use of "facilitated communication," or FC,
a process in which a "facilitator" holds the hand of a disabled person
over a keyboard so the non-vocal person can "communicate" by typing
messages. As FC gained popularity among families with autistic
children, a flood of false sexual and physical abuse allegations
against parents and siblings followed. Studies have determined that FC
is invalid, junk science, because it is the facilitator, not the
disabled person, who determines what is typed. Yet prosecutors
and judges ignore laws that require evidence to have scientific
validity, and allow cases built on this demonstrated junk to
the law become an inconvenient truth?
Brock,MA, LLP, CSW, Stating the
Obvious. (Click the
title; document is in Word format.) The Sixth Circuit Court of
Appeals finds the obvious, that a man whose teenage daughter falsely
accused him of sexual abuse to keep him from marrying a woman she
detested received ineffective assistance from lawyers who failed to
investigate the daughter's credibility.
Also from Michael
Brock,MA, LLP, CSW and Michael
Trager, J.D., Hypothetical
Questions for Cross Examining Mental Health Witnesses in Sex Abuse Cases.
(Click the title; document is in Word format.) "Must reading" for
attorneys representing clients charged with child sex abuse with no
physical evidence of abuse.
In November, 2003, Pennsylvania voters
to deny criminal
defendants the right to confront their accusers in court. They
probably felt there would be no cost to themselves.
But if we let witnesses avoid accountability in criminal proceedings,
we all will pay a high price, eventually. No Accountability
Back to Top
In Plano, Texas
Reading from Stop Bad Therapy