EvidenceProf Blog

Editor: Colin Miller
Univ. of South Carolina School of Law

Thursday, April 21, 2022

My Supplement to the Request for Review for Michelle Heale

On February 15, 2022, I filed a Request for Review with the New Jersey Attorney General’s Conviction Review Unit on behalf of Michelle Heale. Here was the Introduction to that Request:

On April 17, 2015, Michelle Heale was convicted of aggravated manslaughter and child endangerment based on the death of fourteen-month old Mason Hess, whom she had been babysitting. Michelle Heale is actually innocent of these crimes and would have been acquitted at trial if not for an error by her trial counsel in failing to present testimony and a report by the leading expert who could have proven her defense. Moreover, new evidence calling into question the use of the traditional triad of symptoms to diagnose Shaken Baby Syndrome – a diagnosis of exclusion, not inclusion – supports a finding of actual innocence. Indeed, this new evidence has led a New Jersey court to conclude that the evidence used to convict Ms. Heale is insufficiently reliable to even be admissible at trial.

Now, a New Jersey court has declared Shaken Baby Syndrome "akin to 'junk science'" based in large part upon testimony by the expert who was contacted by Heale's defense counsel but who never testified because they never followed up with him. As a result, I am filing a Supplement to Heale's Request for Review.  Download Michelle Heale Supplement.



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