Mistrial Requested In Foster Mother Abuse Case

Relates to:
Date: 2010-03-16

Defense attorneys are requesting a mistrial in the case of a Mansfield foster mother accused in the violent death of a 7-month-old boy, according to the Hartford Courant.

Lawyers for Suzanne Listro claim the prosecutor's aggressive cross examination of a witness deprived Listro of her right to a fair trial, the Courant reports.

The state claims Listro caused the death of Michael Brown Jr., 7 months, when she shook him violently or some other action that caused him to suffer a traumatic head injury. Medical witnesses have testified that the baby's injuries were inconsistent with the short fall Listro described, according to the Courant.

Dr. Janice Ophoven, a forensic pathologist from Minnesota, was hired by the defense to investigate Michael's death. She testified that there was no evidence to support shaken baby syndrome and Michael's injuries could have been caused by a fall. While cross-examining Ophoven, prosecutors asked whether she knew she was under investigation for perjury in Minnesota. Ophoven said she wasn't aware of an investigation and then asked for a break, reports the Courant.

"I am shaken and my mind isn't on my testimony," she said. The judge denied her request for a break.

The case changed how the Department of Children and Families, D.C.F, licenses foster parents because Listro was allowed to become a foster parent -- even after being investigated twice for child abuse allegations -- reports the Courant.


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