The Supreme Court Screws Up the Science: There is No Abusive Head Trauma/Shaken Baby Syndrome 'Scientific' Controversy

80 Pages Posted: 19 May 2016 Last revised: 9 Jul 2016

Joelle Anne Moreno

Florida International University (FIU) - College of Law

Brian Holmgren

Davidson County District Attorney

Date Written: July 2016

Abstract

Even if it is not true that law school is the consolation prize for those whose freshman biology grades make medical school impossible, judges, law professors, and lawyers are not (as a general rule) scientists. But they increasingly shape our understanding of scientific ideas by determining how law interprets and applies scientific information and by ensuring that bad science does not create bad law.1 As law becomes more science-dependent and expert witnesses play a greater role in a wide range of criminal and civil cases, there has been a concomitant increase in the need to ensure that the expert testimony admitted [at trial] is not just flimsy or interested speculation, but reliable enough to be more helpful than misleading; and one factor that courts have sometimes taken as indicating that proffered scientific testimony may not be reliable is that it is based on “litigation-driven” science.

Keywords: Shaken Baby Syndrome, Supreme Court

Suggested Citation

Moreno, Joelle Anne and Holmgren, Brian, The Supreme Court Screws Up the Science: There is No Abusive Head Trauma/Shaken Baby Syndrome 'Scientific' Controversy (July 2016). Utah Law Review, Vol. 2014, No. 5, 2014; Florida International University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 16-15. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2781555

Joelle Anne Moreno (Contact Author)

Florida International University (FIU) - College of Law ( email )

11200 SW 8th St.
RDB Hall 1097
Miami, FL 33199
United States
305-348-1152 (Phone)
305-348-7293 (Fax)

Brian Holmgren

Davidson County District Attorney ( email )

Nashville, TN
United States

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