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The emergence of "Shaken Baby Syndrome" presents an object lesson in the dangers that lie at the intersection of science and criminal law. Understandings of "Shaken Baby Syndrome" have evolved in the context of scientific knowledge. It is now known that the diagnostic triad 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. More perplexingly, triad-based 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. In this book, Deborah Tuerkheimer exposes extraordinary failings in the criminal justice system's treatment of what is, in essence, a medical diagnosis of murder. Flawed Convictions presents a new perspective on the need for the law to better respond to the scientific contingency. By analyzing the legal response to "Shaken Baby Syndrome" and the existing inadequacies of "science dependent prosecution," Professor Tuerkheimer proposes a path forward for criminal justice, while suggesting a restructuring of the law in order to deal with the uncertainty of scientific knowledge.