U-M law school gets grant to take look at shaken-baby cases

Left: An undated courtesy photo of Baylee Stenman. Right: Leo Ackley in court on Nov. 22, 2011.
Left: An undated courtesy photo of Baylee Stenman. Right: Leo Ackley in court on Nov. 22, 2011.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — The law school at the University of Michigan is receiving a $250,000 federal grant to develop expertise to challenge certain child-abuse convictions.

The school’s Innocence Clinic will use the money to work on convictions in so-called shaken-baby cases.

In 2015, the Michigan Supreme Court unanimously overturned a murder conviction in Calhoun County. The court said Leo Ackley’s rights were violated by a defense attorney who did a poor job in failing to vigorously challenge the evidence. The death involved his girlfriend’s 3-year-old daughter Baylee Stenman.

The court said the prosecutor produced no witnesses who said Ackley was abusive.

The Innocence Clinic believes there are other people who have been wrongly convicted on flawed shaken-baby evidence.