In 2002, I contacted Elaine about a death penalty case. My client was accused of "shaking" his 5 month old step-daughter to death. He said he had never hurt the child. I believed him and shared this with Elaine who committed to doing whatever possible with me to assist this good man. My client’s wife, the child’s mother, said she did not think her husband had harmed the child. The child’s problems were attributed to the mother’s complicated pregnancy and to the child’s emergency and premature multiple birth.(Elaine explained that medical clinical literature supports that the injuries that occur in premature births sometimes mimic those of so-called "shaken-baby-syndrome.")
Despite the baby’s very troubled and risky birth, the State of North Carolina said it intended to seek the death penalty against this 20-year-old gentle man. The DA said he was "not a manslaughter kind of guy" and his best offer in the case was second degree murder and 28-32 years in prison, that is, before we contacted Elaine.
Elaine spent many hours on the telephone with me explaining the scientific issues in pediatri head injury causation and provide me with volumes of materials to educate me about the medicine and science regarding "Shaken Baby Syndrome." She offered advice about possible experts to pursue. She helped review affidavits and reports from the experts we secured. She provided us with examples of pretrial motions, briefs and supporting exhibits from the medical and scientific literature to help guide us in how to challenge the reliability of the ‘science’ offered by the State in cases of so-called "shaken baby syndrome" under the North Carolina version of Daubert, the case in which the U.S. Supreme Court set the standard for the admissibility of expert witness testimony and scientific evidence.
Elaine then helped us refine those briefs under North Carolina’s case law. Elaine provided me with hundreds of pages of examples of her own cross and direct examinations of state "SBS" experts and witnesses, reviewed and edited portions of my trial preparation, and agreed to come to North Carolina to participate in the trial. She was there for us every step of the way.
Elaine knows more about the reliable science of brain injury causation than most doctors. And, Elaine knows how to expose the unreliable science. In early 2004, and in the wake of filing the Daubert motion, only days before the trial, our client elected to accept a last-minute plea offer from the district attorney for involuntary manslaughter. Our client has never met Elaine in person, but he will never forget her. He says he "owes his life to her."
If you are working on any type of case involving brain injury, Elaine is the lawyer to call for help!
Kinston, North Carolina