Women's Cases in the News

8/1/20017: She was convicted of killing her mother. Presecutors withheld the evidence that would have freed her. 

By the time Noura Jackson's conviction was overturned, she had spent nine years in prison. This type of prosecutorials error is almost never punished. Read the full story here.


5/16/2017: Attorney for Raynell Dossett Leath talks about her case and her freedom

Whether reading a transcript, reviewing evidence or sitting across a prison table from the woman dubbed a black widow, defense attorney Joshua Hedrick said he became convinced of one thing - Raynella Dossett Leath is no killer. Read the full story here.


3/17/2017: New report highlights how criminal justice reform has overlooked women

A new report issued by the Prisoner Reentry Institute of John Jay College of Criminal Justice examines women's experiences in the criminal justice system in New York City, and shows that criminal justice reforms there have underserved women through a 'one size fits all' approach to justice. A summary of the report can be found here and the full report, Women Injustice: A Pathway to Jail in New York City, can be accessed here.


1/5/2017: Phoenix women gets closer to clearing her name

Courtney Bisbee, a school nurse, spent 11 years behind bars after a teen boy alleged she molested him. The alleged victim's brother and father have said the boy lied and was coerced by his mother to make the accusation in order for his mother to bring a suit for money damages against the school district where Ms. Bisbee worked. Read and watch Courtney Bisbee's story here.  


12/20/16: Journalists examine SBS and a mother's claim of innocence

The Medill Justice Project (a journalism project at Northwestern University) and Life of the Law (a podcast series) have released a multi-part examination of the case of Tonia Miller, a young Michigan mother convicted of shaking her baby to death. The investigation looks at experts' opinions on so-called "shaken baby syndrome" and Tonia Miller's claim of innocence, and can be accessed here and here.


11/23/16: San Antonio Four officially found innocent!

The Criminal Appeals Court of Texas has found Kristie Mayhugh, Elizabeth Rameriz, Cassandra Rivera, and Anna Vasquez innocent of all charges against them. The CWC Women's Project is thrilled for all four women and we wish them the very best. Congratulations to the Innocence Project of Texas! More details available here


Jennifer Del Prete

8/29/2016: Jennifer Del Prete granted a new trial

Jennifer Del Prete was convicted in 2005 of first degree murder of a three-month-old baby in her care at a daycare. The State’s theory was that the baby had suffered abusive head trauma, or “shaken baby syndrome,” immediately prior to her symptoms and that Del Prete was therefore the person who caused the injuries.

U. S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly held a nine-day evidentiary hearing at which more than ten medical and scientific experts testified. Even the prosecution’s main expert ultimately conceded that a child victim of abusive head trauma can have a period of time (known as a “lucid interval”) before symptoms appear. Some victims might be listless or irritable, or might vomit, before a more dramatic onset of symptoms. Del Prete described these symptoms when she told police what the baby had been like earlier that day. Experts from both sides testified that the baby had some brain bleeding more than two weeks before the onset of symptoms. Del Prete’s experts testified that there were other possible medical causes of the baby’s symptoms.

In a 97-page opinion, which discussed the medical evidence in detail, Judge Kennelly concluded that Del Prete had established by a preponderance of the evidence that no reasonable jury would find her guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Although Judge Kennelly was not persuaded that the experimental testing described by one of Del Prete’s experts definitively established that shaking alone cannot cause injuries of the type the baby suffered, he did state the following in a footnote: “But it is at least equally important that, as [one expert] testified, science cannot even yet establish an injury threshold. This, in addition to the other more recent developments in this area previously discussed, arguably suggests that a claim of shaken baby syndrome is more an article of faith than a proposition of science.”

On August 29, 2016, a Will County Circuit Court judge reversed Del Prete's conviction and ordered a new trial. More


6/27/2016: Crystal Weiner exonerated

A horrifying combination of junk science, snitch testimony, and perjury led to Crystal Weiner's wrongful conviction. More...