“Shaken-baby” horror

by Walter Olson on March 23, 2012

More evidence that innocent parents are in prison over infant deaths [Emily Bazelon, Slate; earlier here, etc.]

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1 asdfasdf 03.23.12 at 6:39 pm

Jury trials + anything with the word “syndrome” = random result.

That said, an easy way to test the hypothesis that these shaken baby convictions are erroneous would be to look at all the convictions C where there was not also corroborative physical evidence. Of all those convictions C , how many of the babies B also had serious physical diseases?

If the ratio B/C is much higher than the ratio of babies who have serious physical diseases, then we can conclude (assuming C is high enough) that it is the diseases, not shaken babies, causing the deaths.

2 Robert 03.24.12 at 12:57 pm

Wow! I’m amazed there was a conviction in the Witt case, given a baby with a history of medical problems and no witnesses or physical evidence wrt shaking. Just goes to show you, it’s hard to defend yourself against a photo of a baby!

Steven Jobs pulled from the Apple app store a game where you shake your iPhone to stop an animated baby from crying. I wonder how many babies have died because people no longer had this virtual outlet with which to “shake out” their aggressive behavior?

3 Brian 03.26.12 at 11:39 am

@Robert, I’m guessing that zero babies have died because people don’t have a virtual outlet to “shake out” aggressive behavior through that app. Had that baby shaker app been promoted as a viable app and not removed, then I’m guessing all it would have done was promote shaking as a reasonable response to a crying baby.

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