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Shaken Baby Syndrome Defense

Defense Against Criminal Charges of Non-Accidental Trauma

Because of the recent trend toward “Mandatory Reporting Laws,” any time a child is treated in an emergency room and diagnosed with subdural hematoma and retinal hemorrhages there is an immediate – almost “default” – diagnosis of Non-Accidental Trauma (NAT) or Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS). This diagnosis results in transfer of child custody to child protective services and initiation of serious criminal charges. In Kansas, if a child dies as a result of alleged abuse, the charge is First Degree Murder carrying a statutory mandatory sentence of life in prison with no opportunity for parole for 20 years.

Once medical professionals make this determination, they rarely explore other medical explanations for the injuries. Doctors will often misdiagnose factors as birth injury, chronic subdural bleeding, and bruising from blood clotting disorders as evidence of prior abuse. “Shaken Baby Syndrome” is perhaps the only medical ‘syndrome’ wherein diagnosis amounts to a determination of guilt.

Fortunately, the trend among the scientific and medical community is changing. As a result of extensive and ongoing research, biomechanic experts, ophthalmologists, neuropathologists, and forensic pathologists have established that children can and do suffer severe injuries from accidental traumas, short falls or systemic disorders. Studies have documented subdural and retinal hemorrhage arising in infants who have experienced purely accidental, non-intentional injury

If you are facing charges in a Shaken Baby Syndrome case, your life is on the line. In Kansas, if a child dies as a result of alleged abuse, the charge is First Degree Murder carrying a statutory mandatory sentence of life in prison with no opportunity for parole for 20 years. Your case requires specialized knowledge and experience, tireless preparation, and the support of the most respected medical experts in the field. I have had the privilege of working extensively with Drs. John Plunkett, M.D. and Jan Leestma, M.D., the pre-eminent, nationally recognized experts in the evolving field of accidental injury in children. I have collaborated with nationally acclaimed defense attorney Toni Blake who has provided invaluable assistance to me and to my clients. By relying on the synergy of the very best experts in this highly specialized area of practice.

Fox 4 Kansas City recently aired this in-depth story of a difficult Shaken baby Case that our firm handled and spoke with our forensic expert Jan Leestma.

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