Susan C. Anthony

Wrongly Accused of Shaking a Baby?

A Tragedy and a Mystery  Shaken (book)  |  444 SBS Case Summaries  |   Links and Resources

If you or someone you know has been wrongly accused of shaking a baby, please contact me at I am not a doctor or attorney so I cannot offer legal or medical advice, but I can share with you what I know. I can e-mail a PDF copy of my book Shaken and send a print copy if you wish. I will pray for justice, wisdom, and strength for your family to endure the storm. I will pray for your little children, whose futures depend on how things turn out for you.

If you or someone you love is in crisis with no time to contact me, here's a checklist to help you get started and avoid early mistakes. Be aware that even the fact you accessed this web site might be considered "proof" that you know you shook the baby and are trying to figure out how to cover your tracks.

  • As soon as you suspect you're suspected of doing something wrong, SAY NOTHING, even to doctors. Calmly request an attorney, again and again. At most say, "I did not hurt the baby in any way," calmly, again and again, like a broken record.
  • Think it through. Listen to your conscience. Did you do anything that might have hurt the baby, even accidentally? Reveal all details to your attorney.
  • Do not talk to the police. Do not argue with them or yield to the temptation to convince them of your innocence, no matter how innocent you are. Be respectful. They are doing their job. They talk to suspects who lie skillfully and shamelessly every day. You can't expect them to discern that you're different from any other suspect with whom they interact.
  • Do not allow police into your home without a search warrant. Step outside your door to speak to them unless they have a warrant.
  • Review your constitutional rights. Do not expect a Miranda warning unless you have been taken into custody (arrested).
  • Get a defense attorney immediately and refer all questions to him/her. You might think, "Why? I'm innocent! Only guilty people need attorneys!" Unfortunately, an innocent person who doesn't get an attorney right away can be wrongly convicted far more easily than you imagine. At this point, any defense attorney is preferable to no defense attorney. You can later find an attorney you want to work with over time.
  • Do not say or write anything that might be misinterpreted or used against you. Don't text, e-mail, or post on Facebook / MySpace. Anything you say or write can be misinterpreted and used against you.
  • Shield yourself and your children from media reports. Ask your spouse or most trusted friend to monitor media reports and contact the media to correct factual errors. For example, the paper might say bail was $100,000 when it was actually $10,000. Only call to correct uncontested facts—clear errors. Don't yield to any temptation to tell your side of the story to the media. Save your side of the story for the jury.
  • As soon as time allows, begin documenting all facts and gathering all medical records, photographs, and information that might help solve the mystery of what really happened to the baby. Start making a timeline of everything that happened before the baby's collapse.
  • Do not share details of your particular case with anyone other than your attorney and most trusted family members or friends. Share general information about SBS, such as the following linked articles by Elaine Whitfield-Sharpe:  The Elephant on the Moon, A Matter of Gravity, The Eighth Circle of Fire.

Go on to read 444 Case Summaries of People Accused of Shaking Babies
Source:, ©Susan C. Anthony