State v. Audrey A. Edmunds , 2008 WI App 33; prior history: State v. Edmunds, 229 Wis. 2d 67, 598 N.W.2d 290 (Ct. App. 1999), habeas relief denied, Edmunds v. Deppisch, 313 F.3d 997 (7th Cir. 2002)
For Edmunds: Keith A. Findley, UW Law School
Issue/Holding: Presentation of expert testimony to establish, under a theory of newly discovered evidence, a recent revision in symptomatology of shaken baby syndrome isn’t procedurally barred notwithstanding a previous such effort:
¶11 The problem with the State’s argument is that the evidence offered in Edmunds’s current postconviction motion is entirely different in character from the evidence offered in her 1997 postconviction motion. …¶12 In her 1997 motion, Edmunds argued that the medical testimony she offered was newly discovered because defense counsel had not located the experts, who were from out of state, to provide a minority opinion that challenged the majority opinion expressed by the State’s witnesses at trial. The defense experts in the 1997 motion would have offered the existing theories in the medical community, disavowed by the mainstream, that shaking alone could not cause fatal injuries, that a previous brain injury can spontaneously re-bleed, and that an infant can experience a head trauma and have a significant lucid interval. In contrast, the defense experts who testified for the 2006 postconviction motion explained that in the past ten years, a shift has occurred in the medical community around shaken baby syndrome, so that now the fringe views posited in 1997 are recognized as legitimate and part of a significant debate. They explained that there has been significant development in research and literature that challenges the medical opinions presented at Edmunds’s trial. Thus, the State’s argument that this motion is the same as Edmunds’s 1997 motion, or that Edmunds could have raised her current arguments in her appeal from the circuit court’s 1997 decision, are unavailing. We turn, then, to the merits of Edmunds’s appeal.