Wrongfully Convicted: August 18, 2010
Exonerated: April 6, 2021
Shawn Brown’s infant son tragically died in January 2010. Instead of recognizing that Brown had done nothing wrong, police and prosecutors pursued Brown as a murder suspect. His prosecution was based on reports from doctors indicating that the child’s death had been due to “shaken baby syndrome”/”abusive head trauma.” The SBS/AHT theory has resulted in many innocent parents and caregivers being charged with crimes they did not commit.
Brown was convicted of manslaughter in August 2010. Many witnesses testified that he was a good father and had never been abusive toward his son. However, the State presented several medical experts, who testified that only violent shaking or abusive trauma could have caused the child’s symptoms and death. The defense attorney did not seek an expert to testify in Brown’s favor
The Innocence Clinic began investigating the case in 2014. Upon consulting independent medical experts, the Clinic learned that the child’s symptoms and death were likely caused by accidental or natural causes, as opposed to stemming from abuse, as had been said at trial. An evidentiary hearing was held on the new evidence in 2018, and the Innocence Clinic eventually won the case in the Court of Appeals in the summer of 2019. The prosecution finally dismissed all charges in April 2021, at which time Brown was fully exonerated.
More details available at:
- The National Registry of Exonerations: Shawn Brown
- Battle Creek Enquirer: Charges dropped in baby death after father completed his prison sentence
- Associated Press: Manslaughter conviction overturned in shaken baby case