"Randy Papetti's book is a terrific resource for anyone interested in learning about the challenges to the evidence for Shaken Baby Syndrome and Abusive Head Trauma diagnoses. Papetti has done a great service for lawyers, physicians and anyone else interested in the subject by digesting and distilling the enormous body of scientific and medical literature on both sides of the debate into a clearly written and logically developed argument that SBS/AHT satisfies neither the legal standards of evidence-based medicine nor the Daubert standard for admission evidence in court. I have written several articles and litigated numerous SBS/AHT cases, and the book will be a valuable resource for all of my future research and litigation."

By David A. Moran, Director and Clinical Professor of Law
Michigan Innocence Clinic
University of Michigan Law School

"This is a must read for all doctors, lawyers, and judges involved in the world of pediatric head injury. Randy Papetti’s background as an accomplished complex trial litigator and pro-bono attorney who has gotten people out of prison in shaken baby syndrome cases is on display in this brilliant book.  Papetti offers a thorough and compelling analysis of how a flawed medical diagnosis became entrenched in the criminal justice system and responsible for hundreds of innocent people going to prison a year. Papetti’s book not only highlights grave errors in the criminal justice system but offers thoughtful prescriptions for correcting the problems."

By Susan Goldsmith
Career Investigative Reporter

"Mr. Papetti’s book offers a careful, thorough, and eye-opening analysis of an almost unbelievable medico-legal misadventure. The Forensic Unreliability of the Shaken Baby Syndrome is a valuable resource in the emerging struggle for justice on behalf of people wrongfully prosecuted because of flawed forensic science."

by Sue Luttner
Technical Writer and Editor
Founding board member, Protecting Innocent Families


"An infant found non-responsive with no visible signs of trauma. The frantic caretaker calls 911. The child is rushed to the hospital where a CT scan reveals thin subdural hemorrhage and brain swelling. Because the caretaker cannot explain how the child developed these symptoms, the hospital child protection team diagnoses child abuse. The child protection team informs the police and child's family that the "injuries" are a result of Abusive Head Trauma (AHT) and could only have been inflicted with the force of a high speed car accident or multi story fall. The caretaker is arrested. As criminal process unfolds the child abuse team advises the police, medical examiner, and prosecution. At trial. the child abuse pediatrician informs the jury that the child's "injuries" were caused by abuse. The caretaker is convicted. But is the caretaker guilty? The author, a seasoned trial attorney and expert in litigating AHT cases, challenges the reader to take a hard look at the scientific foundation of the AHT diagnosis: Is the "abuse diagnosis" a scientifically validated opinion, or the product of social policy, bias, flawed methodology, and rush to judgment? Are hospitals really testing for rare (or not so rare conditions or alternative explanations? Can accidental actions lead to the same symptoms as abusive actions? Are yet undiscovered biological processes causing symptoms for which "abuse" is the diagnosed etiology? How accurate is any "abuse" diagnosis? In the era of hospital staff turned prosecution team members, and where criminal prosecutions have been streamlined into "the last person with the child did it", the author chronicles the rise to power of child advocacy systems, and the corresponding failure of institutional medicine and the prosecutorial and judicial professions to question and challenge that power. At the same time, lack of scientific foundation supporting the AHT diagnosis has generated a backlash from various scientific specialties and researchers challenging the accuracy of the AHT diagnosis and criticizing systemic overreliance on a mere hypothesis. For those experienced in the legal battles surrounding AHT, the book provides new insights for challenging the continued admissibility of the AHT diagnoses and testimony. For those unfamiliar with the medical literature surrounding the AHT controversy, this text, edited by a forensic pathologist, is a time-saver--exceptionally well written and easy to follow. The author effectively and efficiently organizes controversial scientific topics into chapters heavily footnoted with current references to biomechanics engineering and medical literature, and legal decisions. A highly recommended publication for all practitioners facing cases involving any child abuse allegation."

by Kathleen Pakes
Assigned Counsel Division Director for the State Public Defender
Member of the SPD Forensic Practice Group


"The Forensic Unreliability of Shaken Baby Syndrome" is an incredible resource for any attorney, judge, or client faced with a Shaken Baby Syndrome or Abusive Head Trauma case. The book clearly lays out the relevant history of how SBS/AHT developed into an accepted diagnosis, acknowledging work from both proponents and opponents. This book cites heavily to relevant and reliable sources. Mr. Papetti has managed to gather the relevant medical literature and case law into one volume that is accessible to all readers. As a criminal defense attorney, I absolutely recommend this book to anyone defending a SBS/AHT case, or to any judges faced with challenges to the diagnosis. I would also hope prosecutors would read this book, so they could explore whether they are truly faced with cases of child abuse. Excellent work; a great read."

by Caroline B.


"The first thing that struck me about this book was the font size and line spacing. You may think this an odd place to start when reviewing what is such a erudite piece of work, but so often academic literature is set out in small font with minimal line spacing. Randy's book is an exception and makes the reading of it very easy on the eye and a pleasure. Equally impressive are the layout of the chapters and the subtopics contained within them, meaning that any practitioner can easily refer back to any particular area they wish. Next in line is the index, so often confusing in works of this nature, not in this case, it is crystal clear and logical. Next on my list are the footnotes, which are utterly comprehensive giving the practitioner easy access to the articles and material they may need to support any given point. Before coming to the body of the work itself, I must congratulate Randy on his Appendix with beautifully clear diagrams and explanation of the relevant pieces of the anatomy. The work itself is a masterpiece of simplicity in a frighteningly complicated world. It takes the ready by the hand and takes them through the history of this flawed science arming the practitioner, whether they be lawyer or doctor, with the wherewithal to understand the history of SBS/AHT, the contradictions involved in such a diagnosis, and the material with which to expose this dangerous science. When I started doing this work as a defense lawyer it took me countless hours to understand the science at play and to collect the material which Randy has now placed at the feet of all practitioners. I can only regret this book was not available when I was starting out on my journey. For anyone involved in this works, this book is a must to have in their library. Indeed if you only had one book to choose in this area, this would be it. If they do not acquire Randy's work, they are in my view neglecting their duty to their client or patient. I go down on one knee in gratitude for Randy's diligence in producing a book in this area of science which is unequalled."

by Michael Turner QC


"Having served as co-counsel with Randy in a SBS case, this work reinforces his demonstrated expertise in understanding all sides of the SBS science. In this singular work, Randy has set forth a basis for distinguishing between true science and emotionally based conclusions that have damaged countless lives. No child ever deserves to be harmed and no parent deserves to be wrongfully accused of hurting a beloved child. Setting the stage for a better understanding of the true science and mechanisms for infant injuries will serve to protect both children and caretakers as this issue moves forward in both the medical and legal professions. Every medical and legal practitioner should read this wonderfully written piece of work!"

by Dana P. Hlavac