On August 20, 2022, Drayton Witt was sentenced to twenty years in prison
for the death of an infant. Allegedly, he killed the baby by shaking the
child, which is known as "shaken baby." Throughout all the precedings,
and even after sentencing, he proclaimed that he did not do such a thing.
On May 31, 2012, he was released, due to a motion that was filed regarding
the fallacy of the shaken baby "science."
More and more we are learning that "Shaken baby" diagnosis are
not as solid as we once thought. There is much room for dispute.
Even though Witt was released pursuant to the judges orders, the prosecution
is retrying the case. They can't admit that they locked up the wrong
person for 10 years. Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said that
his office still believes that Witt killed his baby, saying "Obviously,
we believed it the first time around."
The idea that shaking a baby could cause brain injury was first proposed
in a 1971 medical-journal article. It gained popularity and in 1996 the
term "shaken-baby syndrome" entered the Random House dictionary.
In 2001, the American Academy of Pediatrics produced a position paper,
stating that doctors should presume abuse in any baby under a year old
who had head injuries absent obvious trauma.
Kansas criminal defense attorney, I am well aware what happens when a child is brought into the emergency
room. If shaken baby even seems like a remote possibility, SRS is contacted,
the police are contacted, and a suspect is gathered up, whoever was the
last known person with the child. Once shaken baby is determined, the
doctors put on their blinders, often ignoring evidence that might suggest
a different reason for a baby's problems.
As in Witt's situation, while they are anguishing over the injured
child, they are simultaneously arrested and then face years in prison….over
disputable science. Congratulations to the criminal defense
lawyers who helped free a man who was likely wrongfully charged. The three pronged
test used by doctors to determine shaken baby has been seriously questioned
recently. The doctor who came up with it was flawed.