Judging Amy
Shaken, Not Stirred

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Shaken, Not Stirred

At DCF, Maxine is trying to convince Jodi's attorney that Jodi has been sexually abused and should not go home. The attorney will hear none of it, even when Maxine cites such suspicious behaviour as Jodi's being twice found by teachers in the bathroom undressing younger students, which happened shortly after the stepfather moved into the house. "The foster parents told me that Jodi masturbated regularly for the first few weeks she was with them," Maxine continues. The DCF attorney say that he's read the file but that the psychiatrist told him the behaviour had stopped. Maxine raises her voice saying, "What about the cause of the behaviour? Will he stop?" The DCF attorney says that nothing has changed and she'd have to introduce new evidence. Frustrated, Maxine says, "Don't you think I'd like to? Don't you know how frustrating it is to know something, to know it and not be able to convince anyone else," Maxine goes on to say that she's seen a "staggering" number of sexual abuse cases in twenty-eight years and that very few of the victims offer the information, "because they've been threatened or they feel guilty or they are too young to give it a name. How can you report sexual abuse when you don't know what sex is?" Maxine asks. She says that she's trained to recognize the symptoms; it's her job. "And you're never wrong," DCF attorney states. Maxine pauses. "Not this time," she finally says. DCF attorney states DCF's same old, same old: "We're all overloaded with cases. We have to focus our time and energy on the ones that we at least have a prayer of winning. Jodi wants to go home; that's the bottom line."

The kid on the Merry-Go-Round is starting to look sadder and sadder. Presentiment of things to come?

In Judge Amy's court, a doctor explains the physicality of Shaken Baby Syndrome: "When a young child is violently shaken and the unsupported head is whiplashed back and forth, the brain literally ricochets around inside the skull. That's why we try to warn people: 'Three shakes is all it takes.'" The prosecution asks the doctor if, based on her evaluation of the evidence, Baby Molly's injuries were consistent with Shaken Baby Syndrome? The defence objects -- though based on what, I haven't a clue. Judge Amy overrules it. The doctor confirms that they were. The prosecution asks if, in the doctor's medical opinion, an eight-year-old could cause that kind of injury. The doctor says it would take effort, but yes. Judge Amy asks her to be a little more specific. The doctor explains the difference of forces between an adult's shaking a baby, and a child's: It would take much more effort and time for a child to inflict the kind of damage on a baby that an adult could. The doctor also says that the percentage of siblings and children being responsible for SBS-related deaths is less than 1%. Prosecution asks if someone with "Dylan's history" and ADD would have the strength to shake a baby to death; here's a question: what does ADD have to do with it, and what is Dylan's "history?" The doctor confirms that is possible. Judge Amy looks at Dylan, who stares steadily back.

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Judging Amy

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