The shaken baby syndrome, also known as the “whiplash” baby syndrome, has been a source of medical controversy for many years and in the public eye since the televised trial of nanny Louise Woodward held in Boston, Massachusetts back in 1997. No one can possibly disagree that the protection of innocent children is a good and desirable end. This protection, however, must be grounded in logical, reproducible scientific concepts. Should the science be erroneous or ill-founded, another category of innocent victims surface; that is, the wrongfully accused. At the present, scientific studies contradict themselves as to whether or not the shaken baby syndrome exists at all. Objective evidence strongly suggests that we should abandon the term “shaken baby syndrome” and instead admit that we do not know the force required to cause the injury. We must also recognize that accidental short-distance falls can cause the complete set of symptoms usually attributed to the shaken syndrome.
Attorneys involved in alleged shaken syndrome cases must have special education in how to defend these cases and have access to a pool of qualified experts willing to testify on your behalf. Pesquera is a member of the National Child Abuse Defense and Resource Center and attends their international conferences held every other year to ensure he is up to date with the most recent studies and research on the subject matter. Because of the inherent problems that exist in defending shaken baby syndrome cases, special efforts are required by defense counsel. Defense attorneys must look for ways to introduce rationality back into the courtroom. We must not allow feelings of sympathy for the victim of child abuse to overwhelm the law or a client’s right to a fair trial under the law. The attorney must look for ways to explain the scientific contradiction and present other justifiable explanations for the symptoms shown by the child.
Pesquera has successfully defended numerous clients charged under the shaken baby syndrome theory (see section entitled “Our Success Record”). For a consultation held in the strictest confidence, please contact our office at (407) 898-4000.