Free Pam Jacobazzi
  • Petitioned Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn

This petition was delivered to:

Clemency Counsel
Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn
State's Attorney DuPage County
Robert Berlin

Free Pam Jacobazzi

    1. William Clutter
    2. Petition by

      William Clutter

      Springfield, IL

What happened to Pam Jacobazzi could happen to any babysitter, any parent, or any grandparent. A licensed daycare provider, she was convicted in 1999, of allegedly shaking a 10 month old child to death. Recently, medical science has debunked the theory of Shaken Baby Syndrome that prosecutors used to convict her. New evidence, discovered after she was convicted, reveals that the child had a naturally occurring disease that caused bleeding within the brain.  Read why Investigating Innocence is supporting clemency.

CT scans prove chronic bleeding was occurring before child entered daycare

The radiologist at St. Joseph Hospital in Elgin who conducted CT scans of the child’s brain reported there was evidence of both “new and old blood”. On May 12, 1999, this doctor testified as a witness for the defense. He said that the old blood or chronic bleeding began two weeks before the child began having seizures. The significance of this testimony was that the bleeding within the child’s brain, according to the CT scans, was occurring before Aug. 1, 1994, which was the day Pam Jacobazzi began caring for the child. Nevertheless, despite the testimony of this treating doctor she was convicted of first degree murder.

Pediatric records unknown to the jury suggest a naturally occurring bleeding disorder

After she was convicted new evidence revealed that the child had been born with sickle cell trait, was anemic, and had persistent fevers in the weeks before the bleeding was detected. Medical science now recognizes that sickle cell anemia and other naturally occurring diseases will cause the same symptoms of subdural and retinal bleeding, that before would have been mistaken for child abuse.
This evidence was discovered by reading the records of the child’s pediatrician. The jury never heard about this evidence. In fact, the pediatrician testified that this was a healthy child. However, the medical records would indicate otherwise.
The pediatrician would later say when the anemia failed to improve even after prescribing iron supplements (suspecting an iron deficiency) the doctor began to suspect internal bleeding. In his deposition taken after Mrs. Jacobazzi was convicted, this doctor acknowledged that this could mean “that there’s something else going on . . . It could be that the child has a chronic disease . . . could be that there is some blood loss somewhere”. On Aug. 3, 1994 (two days after Pam Jacobazzi began babysitting the child) the pediatrician called the child’s mother.  He informed her that a test to determine if the internal bleeding was occurring within the gastrointestinal tract was negative. A few days later, on Aug. 11, 1994, internal bleeding was detected within the child’s brain.  Police immediately arrested Pam based on the medical opinion at that time that the symptoms could only be caused by shaken baby syndrome.  We now know Pam Jacobazzi is an innocent woman.

Pam was convicted based on a theory that forensic science now rejects

At trial the experts for the prosecution testified that violent shaking of the child caused the bridging veins of the brain to rupture. “There’s really nothing else that could have caused this child’s injuries in the context of the absence of a motor vehicle accident” or “perhaps a fall from a (great) height”. Forensic Pathologist Robert Kirshner testifying for the prosecution.
An authoritative text on forensic pathology published after Pam was convicted, now acknowledges: “When testifying as to the degree of impact, statements such as: "forces equivalent to thirty miles per hour" or "a fall from a three-story building" have been used as an analogy for the jury. These statements are not supported by scientific facts.The term shaken baby syndrome has become subject of much controversy and some investigators are now of the opinion that vigorous shaking of a child cannot cause the injuries once believed to be associated with this mechanism.” (Source: Spitz and Fisher, Medicolegal Investigations of Death,  4th Edition 2006). 

Convictions based on junk science according to new study

A pediatric ophthalmologist testified that the presence of perimacular folds and retinal hemorrhages in the child’s eyes could only be one thing: shaken baby syndrome.
However, new scientific evidence contradicts this testimony. Forensic pathologist Patrick Lantz, from Wake Forrest University School of Medicine between 2004 and 2006 conducted a study of the eyes of over 700 cadavers looking for evidence of retinal bleeding. The study found that retinal bleeding was more common in non-abuse cases than in cases that involved documented child abuse. Dr. Lantz is volunteering his services to the Innocence Project to assist in Pam's defense.

  A call to action

I would like you to take a few more seconds to send this message to your email contacts and Facebook friends. The anniversary of her conviction is coming up in May. If you could take a few moments of each day to continue sending out this message we will reach our goal of 10,000 signatures.

Call Governor Quinn: (217)782-0244 or (312)814-2121.  Demand that he act on the clemency petition that has been sitting on the Governor's desk since Rod Blagojevich's first term as Governor. She has waited long enough to breathe free air.

Read the Chicago Magazine article:: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2005-06-12/features/0506120513_1_child-abuse-syndrome-shaken

Read the Illinois Times article: http://www.illinoistimes.com/Springfield/article-8622-caregiver-or-killer.html

Read the appellate opinion that invited testimony from experts that challenge the  testimony that convicted her: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/il-court-of-appeals/1500775.html

 

Recent signatures

    News

    1. DuPage Co Judge denies post-conviction petition

      William Clutter
      Petition Organizer
      Bartlett woman loses bid for new shaken baby trial

      Article updated: 9/20/2013 6:21 PM It's back to prison for Pamela Jacobazzi. The former day care provider convicted of fatally shaking a 10-month-old boy left in her care was denied a new murder trial Friday in DuPage County court.

    2. Reached 750 signatures
    3. Mothers who faced false allegations call on Governor to grant clemency

      William Clutter
      Petition Organizer

      SPRINGFIELD--Three mothers who were falsely accused of child abuse held a press conference at the Capitol today calling on Gov. Patrick Quinn to grant clemency to former daycare provider Pamela Jacobazzi. Jacobazzi was convicted in DuPage County in 1999 of first degree murder of a 10-month-old child involving a controversial medical diagnosis called shaken baby syndrome.
      Laura Nimke said she sympathizes with Pam Jacobazzi and her family. “I went through a nightmare facing false allegations that I shook my baby,” said Nimke.
      Nimke, who lives in Streator, Ill., lost her job as a child abuse prevention specialist because of the allegations.

    4. Reached 500 signatures
    5. Join us for a Capitol Rally Sat. June 23 at 10:30 a.m.

      William Clutter
      Petition Organizer

      The Illinois Innocence Project invites you to a rally to Free Pam! There will be a press conference to follow:

      Mothers who faced false allegations of shaken baby syndrome call on Gov. Quinn to pardon DuPage County Day Care Provider
      SPRINGFIELD--Three mothers who were falsely accused of child abuse will hold a press conference at the Capitol June 23 to call on Gov. Patrick Quinn to grant clemency to former daycare provider Pamela Jacobazzi. Jacobazzi was convicted in DuPage County in 1999 of first degree murder of a 10 month old child involving a controversial medical diagnosis called shaken baby syndrome.

    6. Doctor now doubts SBS theory he proposed in 1971

      William Clutter
      Petition Organizer

      Shaken baby syndrome was first proposed as a theory in published medical journals in 1971 by Dr. Norman Guthkelch, a pediatric neurosurgeon. Dr. Guthkelch has become persuaded by a body of scientific research that has since disproved shaken baby syndrome that he is credited with introducing. Dr. Guthkelch recently expressed concern that doctors, police and prosecutors are too quick to base criminal charges without properly investigating natural diseases that can also cause brain bleeds in children. In an interview with National Public Radio, speaking in support of a young man in Arizona who had received a death sentence involving the death of his infant child, Dr. Guthkelch said, “I wouldn’t hang a cat on the evidence of shaking, as presented”.

    7. A thought provoking article

      William Clutter
      Petition Organizer

      The doctor who first proposed that violent shaking could cause bleeding of the brain in children no longer supports shaken baby syndrome that he proposed as a theory in 1971. Dr. Norman Guthkelch now cautions prosecutors to reconsider cases like Pam's.

    8. The Illinois Innocence Project supports clemency for Pam Jacobazzi

      William Clutter
      Petition Organizer

      Mainstream science now rejects the evidence that was used to convict Pam Jacobazzi in 1999. The brain bleed was brought on by a disease process that unfortunately took the life of an innocent child and imprisoned an innocent daycare provider.

    9. Reached 250 signatures
    10. California Gov. Jerry Brown grants clemency to Shirley Ree Smith

      William Clutter
      Petition Organizer

      Former Illinois resident Shirley Ree Smith served 10 years of a life sentence before an appeals court vacated her conviction in 2006. She was accused of shaking her grandson whom she was babysitting. The US Supreme Court in a ruling last fall ignored evidence of her innocence, and ordered the reinstatement of her prison sentence. In granting her clemency, Gov. Brown announced, “From my review of the information before me, including materials from the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office, it is clear that significant doubts surround Ms. Smith’s conviction.”

    11. Daycare provider Audrey Edmunds exonerated

      William Clutter
      Petition Organizer

      Like Pam Jacobazzi, Audrey Edmonds was accused in 1995, of causing the death of a six month old child who had suddenly collapsed while in her care. Edmonds was convicted based on a triad of injuries, subdural bleeding, swelling of the brain, and retinal hemorrhages that were thought to be caused by shaken baby syndrome. Keith Findley, Director of the Wisconsin Innocence Project decided to work for her release. "Her trial and appellate lawyers were convinced of her innocence," he says. "But even more significantly, there was new research which had led one of the State's witnesses against Audrey at the trial to conclude his testimony was in error. Once I heard that, I knew this was something we had to look at." [Madison Magazine 2009] Edmonds was released in 2008 after the appellate court ruled that there is a “fierce debate” within medical science that now calls into question the testimony of the state’s experts who testified at her trial.

    12. Reached 100 signatures
    13. CT scans prove chronic bleeding was occurring before child entered daycare

      William Clutter
      Petition Organizer

      The radiologist who conducted CT scans of the child’s brain while in the emergency room on Aug. 11, 1994, reported there was evidence of both “new and old blood”. On May 12, 1999, this doctor testified as a witness for the defense of Pam Jacobazzi. He said that the old blood or chronic bleeding began two weeks before the child began having seizures. The significance of this testimony was that the bleeding within the child’s brain, according to the CT scans, was occurring before Aug. 1, 1994, which was the day Pam Jacobazzi began caring for the child. Nevertheless, despite the testimony of this treating doctor she was convicted of first degree murder.
      Dr. Patrick Barnes, a pediatric neuroradiologist was recently interviewed by ProPublica in an investigative report on cases involving the misdiagnosis of shaken baby syndrome that have led to the conviction of the innocent. He is reviewing Pam's CT scans for the Innocence Project.

    14. Pediatric records unknown to the jury suggest a bleeding disorder

      William Clutter
      Petition Organizer

      After she was convicted new evidence surfaced indicating that the child had been born with sickle cell trait, was anemic, and had persistent fevers in the weeks before the bleeding was detected.
      This evidence was discovered by reading the records of the child’s pediatrician. The jury never heard about this evidence. In fact, the pediatrician testified that this was a healthy child. However, the medical records would indicate otherwise.
      The pediatrician would later say when the anemia failed to improve even after prescribing iron supplements (suspecting an iron deficiency) the doctor began to suspect internal bleeding. In his deposition taken after Mrs. Jacobazzi was convicted, this doctor acknowledged that this could mean “that there’s something else going on . . . It could be that there is some blood loss somewhere."

    15. Pam was convicted based on a theory that forensic science now rejects

      William Clutter
      Petition Organizer

      At trial the experts for the prosecution testified that violent shaking of the child caused the bridging veins of the brain to rupture. “There’s really nothing else that could have caused this child’s injuries in the context of the absence of a motor vehicle accident” or “perhaps a fall from a (great) height”. Forensic Pathologist Robert Kirshner testifying for the prosecution.
      The 2006 edition of Spitz and Fisher’s Medicolegal Investigations of Death, an authoritative text on forensic pathology, now acknowledges: “When testifying as to the degree of impact, statements such as: "forces equivalent to thirty miles per hour" or "a fall from a three-story building" have been used as an analogy for the jury. These statements are not supported by scientific facts.The term shaken baby syndrome has become subject of much controversy and some investigators are now of the opinion that vigorous shaking of a child cannot cause the injuries once believed to be associated with this mechanism.”

    16. Convictions based on junk science according to new study

      William Clutter
      Petition Organizer

      A pediatric ophthalmologist testified that the presence of perimacular folds and retinal hemorrhages in the child’s eyes could only be one thing: shaken baby syndrome.
      However, new scientific evidence contradicts this testimony. Forensic pathologist Patrick Lantz, from Wake Forrest University School of Medicine between 2004 and 2006 conducted a study of the eyes of over 700 cadavers looking for evidence of retinal bleeding. The study found that retinal bleeding was more common in non-abuse cases than in cases that involved documented child abuse.
      Dr. Lantz is volunteering his services to the Innocence Project to assist in Pam's defense.

    17. Reached 50 signatures
    18. Read the Appellate Court Opinion

      William Clutter
      Petition Organizer

      Inviting testimony from medical experts who would dispute shaken baby syndrome

    19. Read the Chicago Tribune Magazine article

      William Clutter
      Petition Organizer

      Shaken Baby Syndrome: A Search For Truth

    20. Read the Illinois Times

      William Clutter
      Petition Organizer

      Caregiver or Killer?.

    21. Reached 10 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Anita Kanitz STUTTGART, GERMANY
      • 5 months ago

      “Quote words that affirm

      all men and women are your

      brothers and sisters.”

      ― Aberjhani, The River of Winged Dreams

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Kelli Patton HINDSBORO, IL
      • 5 months ago

      I think that anytime someone is accused and knows of their own innocence, the smallest amount of faith in you can go a long way to finding a reason to fight for the truth.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Nancy O'Geary-Smith MARION, IA
      • 5 months ago

      My son has spent 16 years in prison - and is also innocent. People need to be aware this is going on and what an injustice this is!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • William Nemecek LOCKPORT, IL
      • 6 months ago

      I know from experience that these doctors can be wrong.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • celeste hart CHARLOTTE, NC
      • 8 months ago

      Justice, RIP sweet baby

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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