In Part One, we discussed a recent case in which the Court of Appeals ordered the trial court to hold an evidentiary hearing on newly available evidence. You can read the opinion on People v. Miller here. In Part Two, we discussed the timing of injuries and the role of confession. Here we wrap up with the disturbing trend I see to ignore medical evidence.
Why Ignore the Medical Facts?
Defending a medical case requires a thorough examination of the medical facts. Alicia was 11 weeks old when she died, so there is only going to be so much medical history to work with. What we know is that she was not a well child. In her short life, she had numerous episodes of apnea (stopping of breathing) witnessed by a number of eyewitnesses. This was brought to the attention of her doctors (who probably should have been sued for malpractice. But I digress.)
There is a disturbing trend amongst child protection doctors to ignore medical evidence that does not fit the Abusive Head Trauma narrative. I have not seen these medical records, but it seems apparent that the baby was unwell for a period of time and that her medical conditions worsened over time rather than healing. The danger to parents of SBS / AHT theory is that those who advance it ignore medical findings (such as apnea) that might rationally lead to another conclusion. Why would they do that? Because they believe that the triad (subdural hematoma, retinal hemorrhages and brain swelling or brain injury) always adds up to abuse. No exceptions.
And then these same doctors come into court and testify on a theory with certainty! As a result, people like Tonia Miller spend decades fighting for their freedom. Twenty years is a long time to sit in prison for a crime that probably never happened. Hats off to the attorneys and volunteers at the University of Michigan Law School SBS Innocence Project.
That’s enough for now. Stay tuned for “Why Confession Science is not Science at all”. In this upcoming blog, I will discuss why relying on this kind of data brings bad results in the judicial system.
If the attorneys at Cronkright Law can help you or your family fight false allegations of SBS / AHT, please do not hesitate to call. It would be our honor to assist.