The two shaking convictions in the news this season, ironically, are both based on brain findings, with no bruising, bone injuries, or other signs of assault—at least five years after the experts started saying that they never diagnose shaken baby based on the triad alone. In the widely reported case of Joshua Burns in Michigan, in fact, the diagnosis was based on only two of the three markers, retinal hemorrhages and subdural hematoma.
A commercial airline pilot active in his local church and community, Joshua Burns was convicted of child abuse in December of 2014. Supporters immediately launched a web site and media campaign protesting his innocence, and now the Michigan Innocence Clinic is appealing his conviction. Naomi Burns, now 18 months old, seems to have recovered fully. Her mother Brenda Burns has regained custody, but Joshua has been denied any contact with his daughter since April of 2014.
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