The Los Angeles Times is reporting that a grandmother was freed from prison this month after Loyola Law School's Project for the Innocent became involved. Maria Mendez spent the last 11 years of her life, serving a 25-year sentence for the death of her 9-month-old grandson. She had been convicted of Shaken Baby Syndrome, but attorneys and law students who fight for people who are wrongfully convicted took up her case, pointing out medical evidence that was not considered by the court. Mendez was originally convicted based on the testimony of a Child Abuse Specialist. Dr. Carol Berkowitz is the Director of the Child Abuse Fellowship at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. At one time she served as the President of the American Academy of Pediatrics. She is part of the Helfer Society – an elite group of doctors involved with Child Abuse, and in 2014, she won the society's highest award. Despite her many accolades, Dr. Berkowitz failed to consider alternative explanations for the injuries sustained by the grandson of Ms. Mendez. The testimony that she gave reflects the junk science beliefs involved in Shaken Baby Syndrome. Other doctors disagree with her diagnosis, but she was the only doctor to testify 11 years ago.
A District Court judge has overturned the 2009 homicide conviction of Robert Wilkes, marking yet another court victory for the Montana Innocence Project. Wilkes’ 3-month-old son, Gabriel, died in October 2008. More than a year later, Wilkes was convicted in the baby's death and sentenced to 40 years in prison. The Montana Innocence Project began to look into his case in 2012, finding that Gabriel had no signs of abuse and that the prosecution relied on the theory of Shaken Baby Syndrome in Wilkes' case. The Innocence Project gathered a series of medical experts from around the country to review the case. They determined a number of other likely causes of his death. Also, the medical examiner who performed the autopsy had listed the cause of death as “undetermined,” something Wilkes’ defense attorney did not present at trial. In an order issued Thursday, District Court Judge James Haynes of Ravalli County, who was brought in to oversee the Wilkes case, overturned the conviction. As part of his order the judge concluded that Wilkes’ attorney at trial had been ineffective in his representation of his client. In a statement, Innocence Project attorney Toby Cook said the medical evidence they presented was “overwhelming.” “While we have always believed in Dave’s innocence, he can never regain the 10 years he has lost,” Cook said.
Dr. Waney Squier is a renowned British pediatric neuropathologist and considered the UK's leading scientist in the field of pediatric neuropathology, and worked as a consultant at the John Radcliffe Hospital for 32 years. Until 16 years ago, she vehemently supported and adhered to the mainstream belief that when a medical professional suspects that an infant has been violently shaken, they must examine the baby for the “triad” of injuries believed to be associated with shaken baby syndrome (SBS). However, after examining the science behind SBS, Dr. Squier changed her opinion of SBS, and went from being a doctor who testified against parents and others who were accused of shaking their babies and injuring or killing them, to being a doctor who defended such parents and caregivers by offering other medical evidence that could explain such evidence apart from "shaking." As a result, her peers in the medical field attacked her, and in March of 2016 the UK General Medical Council (GMC) found Dr. Waney Squier guilty of “misleading her peers, being irresponsible, dishonest and bringing the reputation of the medical profession into disrepute” and she was "struck off the medical register" which prevented her from practicing medicine. However, over 350 doctors, scientists and lawyers rallied together in her support, and in an unprecedented move they sent a letter of protest to the British Medical Journal (BMJ), questioning the GMC’s decision. As a result, in October 2016, Dr. Waney Squier won her appeal and was reinstated. However, although Dr. Squier’s name was returned to the medical register, she has been prevented from giving evidence as an expert witness for another three years, which many believe was her punishment for standing up to the establishment. Dr. Waney Squier gave a TedX talk in November 2017 at Wadsworth, and it is now available on YouTube. In this TedX lecture, Dr. Squier speaks openly about the problems with SBS, and how thousands of parents are being wrongly accused of harming their babies.
Florida Dad Wrongfully Convicted for Shaking Baby and Served 20+ Years of a 70 Year Sentence Featured on CNN
On February 17, 2018, CNN aired a Special Report titled "Broken Bones, Shattered Lives" which featured the story of James Duncan, who was convicted of child abuse for shaking his son who was an infant at the time. He has served over 20 years of a 70 year conviction for a crime he claims never happened. A Florida appeals court has agreed to re-try the case. CNN's Jean Casarez interviewed James' ex-wife and two sons (now adults) for the report, and they all maintain that James is innocent. Jean Casarez also interviewed Dr. David Ayoub, a radiologist and expert on infantile rickets who stated: "It's a bad diagnosis." He said he believes Kody had infantile rickets, a disease of early life in which bones do not mineralize properly. Ayoub said it led Kody to develop metabolic bone disease, causing his bones to be very fragile. When Jean Casarez asked Dr. Ayoub how many parents he thought might be incarcerated today wrongfully on charges of Child Abuse for shaking their child, he replied "In the tens of thousands."
A father accused of shaking his baby to death has been exonerated, but not until after he spent 16 years of his life in prison for a crime that didn't happen. Zavion Johnson of Sacramento, California, was just 18 years old and the oldest of 7 children at the time that a tragic accident happened. He and his wife were parents of 4 month old Nadia. While he was bathing her in the shower, he dropped his baby and she hit her head on the bathtub. Doctors and investigators testified that the short fall could not have caused her death. They argued that the only explanation was that she had been violently abused. Shaken Baby Syndrome was their verdict. Zavion Johnson's devastated family testified in court on his behalf, describing him as loving, gentle, and patient, with plenty of experience in caring for children. They couldn't believe that he would have intentionally harmed his baby. After years of fighting as his own attorney (pro se) for his freedom, the Northern California Innocence Project got involved. Evidence was presented showing that there are other scientific explanations for the symptoms of Shaken Baby Syndrome. The conviction was vacated on December 18, 2017, and Zavion Johnson was released from prison. On January 19, 2018, the prosecution dismissed all of the charges against him. Zavion Johnson is now a free man, exonerated from a crime that he didn't commit, a crime that didn't actually happen. Not only did he lose his baby girl, he lost his freedom based on a medical theory that is now considered by many to be "junk science." How many more innocent fathers, mothers, and caregivers will be sentenced to prison, or lose their children to Child Protective Services, based on the medical myth of Shaken Baby Syndrome?
The incidents of Child Protection Services medically kidnapping children from good families is becoming so widespread, that one country, India, is now giving legal advice to their citizens on how to avoid having their children kidnapped in the United States when they travel to the U.S. on short to mid-term job assignments. This is a sad commentary on the state of child safety in the U.S., and just like many of the stories we report on here at Health Impact News on our MedicalKidnap.com website, parents are reporting horrific things are happening to their children once they are put into foster care, such as sexual abuse.
When Michael and Chelsea Wolken of Canyon County, Idaho, picked up their 5 month old baby last month from the babysitter's house, they were concerned that she wasn't acting right. Now, the babysitter has been charged with felony injury to a child and accused of Shaken Baby Syndrome. Now that the parents are no longer being blamed, their baby should be home. Child Protective Services doesn't see it that way, and they appear to be looking for any reason they can find to keep the child in their custody. The parents are devastated and just want Baby Rylee home, where she belongs.
Pitocin is one of the most commonly used drugs in childbirth, given to the majority of birthing women to either induce or augment (speed up) labor. Cytotec is also used by many doctors to induce labor. As common as they are, they are not without significant risks to both mother and baby. There are known side effects that are rarely, if ever, told to parents. Unfortunately, some of these risks also appear on the list of symptoms of Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS), or, as it is sometimes called, Abusive Head Trauma (AHT). Hundreds of parents each year are accused of SBS. The National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome estimates that there are 1,300 cases of SBS per year in the U.S. Many have their children seized by Child Protective Services. Some are imprisoned, and some have even been put to death. How many accused parents are aware that simply having labor induced or augmented could cause Shaken Baby symptoms in their baby? Perhaps more importantly, how many doctors, social workers, attorneys, and judges are aware of this? Or are they aware, but choose not to disclose this information?
Colorado Mom Accused of Shaken Baby Syndrome and Child’s Death Has Conviction Thrown out After 13 Years
An Alamosa judge has ordered a new trial in the case of Krystal Voss, who was convicted in 2004 of child abuse in the death of her nineteen-month-old son and sentenced to twenty years in prison. The reversal is another setback for advocates of "shaken baby syndrome," a diagnosis that's been used in court to prosecute hundreds of caregivers for abuse over the past three decades but has been attacked by skeptics as junk science. In a 139-page opinion dated August 7, Alamosa District Court Judge Pattie Swift ruled that Voss's conviction should be thrown out because her attorneys at trial failed to summon any medical experts to challenge the prosecution's claim that Kyran Gaston-Voss's death was the result of a violent shaking. The decision comes after new testimony by nationally recognized pediatric specialists that the toddler's injuries, including a devastating brain injury, could have been caused by an accidental fall. At trial, the prosecution's medical expert asserted that the fatal injuries were consistent with a violent shaking. The jury took only six hours to deliver its verdict: guilty of knowing and reckless child abuse resulting in death. Yet the basic premises behind shaken-baby prosecutions — for example, that baby-shaking produces a unique constellation of symptoms, distinct from a short fall — have been under attack for some time, and were even back when Voss went to trial. Dr. Robert Bux, the coroner who conducted the autopsy on Kyran, told Westword in 2003 that he didn't believe in shaken-baby syndrome and found it "difficult to swallow the concept." Yet the defense never called him as a witness to refute the prosecution's medical expert. Voss, has already served thirteen years of her now-vacated twenty-year sentence.
The VAXXED team recently interviewed a mother from New Jersey, now living in Florida, about her vaccine-damaged son. Her son has brain injuries, and initially she was accused of Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS). They removed her other child from her home, and tried to get her to confess to a crime she never committed. Her son almost died, and at one point they encouraged her and her husband to just donate his organs. But he pulled through, and with the use of alternative therapies such as hyperbaric oxygen therapy and medical cannabis (CBD oil), he has seen significant improvement.