Consider that some medical experts now believe that a blood clot in the brain of 3-month-old Isabella led to her death in 2003, not violent shaking by Jennifer Del Prete, the Chicago woman who was babysitting her when she became unresponsive and suffered what appeared to be a severe brain injury.

Del Prete, who has already served 7.5 years of a 20-year prison sentence for the death of the child, is contesting her conviction with the help of students at Northwestern University

Professor Alec Klein, who runs the Medill Justice Project at Northwestern University, told a Chicago news outlet that he and his students are "trying to pursue these cases because we think there may be a number of people behind bars who shouldn't be there."

Guthkelch told the Fox affiliate in Chicago that "what needed to be sorted out was the fact that these fatal cases were being regarded as due to shaking, simply because no one else could think of any explanation."

Similar cases labeled as non-accidental head trauma, or abusive head trauma, are coming under scrutiny because it appears that doctors did not look past their suspicions that the child was violently shaken, and did not consider the child's medical history or that some other medical condition could be responsible for the death. 

Charges also eventually were dropped against Lisa Kathleen Randall, a Peoria daycare owner accused in 2007 of shaking to death 4-month-old Dillon Uutela, New Times reported in July 2010.

Audrey Edmunds, a Wisconsin babysitter, was freed after 11 years in prison after being convicted of reckless homicide in the death of 7-month-old Natalie. 

An article in the American Bar Association Journal reports that experts testified in Edmunds' trial that the child's internal injuries were "the equivalent of a fall from a two- or three-story building, or a car crash at 25 to 30 miles per hour." 

The Wisconsin Court of Appeals reversed her conviction. It stated that a "significant and legitimate debate" had developed in the medical community in the previous 10 years as to whether babies can be fatally injured through shaking alone, whether a baby with a traumatic head injury can experience a significant lucid interval prior to death, and whether other causes may mimic the symptoms traditionally associated with shaken baby syndrome. 

"The newly discovered evidence in this case shows that there has been a shift in mainstream medical opinion since the time of Edmunds' trial as to the causes of the types of trauma Natalie exhibited," the court wrote, noting that the debate reflects "a fierce disagreement between forensic pathologists who now question whether the symptoms Natalie displayed indicate intentional head trauma, and pediatricians who largely adhere to the science as presented at Edmunds' trial."

Robert Huntington, a pathologist who testified in Edmunds' case, told the court in 2007, more than a decade after his original testimony, that he longer could be sure that the baby had been shaken.

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1 comments
prisonabolitionist
prisonabolitionist

to all you who comment on news pieces about bad parents saying they should "get what's coming to them" at the hands of brutal guards or other prisoners  - I hope you pay close attention to this young man's story.  I hate to think of what this poor guy went through in custody, at the hands of both prisoners and guards. too many people think that people being beaten and raped in prison for these kinds of convictions "get what's coming to them" -its some kind of  "jailhouse justice" that balances everything out in the end. the state (and media) makes way too many mistakes sending innocent people to prison and destroying their lives, and they sure as hell shouldn't be subjected to even more brutality as a second punishment. No one should, for that matter: prison itself - exile, dehumanization, alienation, enslavement - is an evil enough thing to do to a soul that it really doesn't need to be compounded by otherwise "good people" who endorse violence agaisnt those we collectively deem as "deserving" of the worst we can possibly dish out to them...

 
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