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Murder, Medicine and Motherhood Hardcover – May 27, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-1849461573 ISBN-10: 1849461570

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 246 pages
  • Publisher: Hart Publishing (May 27, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849461570
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849461573
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,998,652 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


...an engaging and scholarly read Tracey Elliott, Medical Law Review ...Cunliffe lays out her book in a manner that makes it extremely readable and an ideal reference source for anyone performing ongoing research about infanticide...She performs meticulous research...and boldly asserts her interpretation of the data while leaving her audience with enough information to disagree with her findings and draw different conclusions...The result is a persuasive and enlightening work with the potential to foster honest dialogue and deter baseless stereotyping in the research and investigation of unexplained infant deaths and adolescent motherhood...Her conclusions are broad enough to apply to readers in any location, and the implications of her research are too important to ignore. Julie Spain, Journal of Youth and Adolescence If Professor Emma Cunliffe...had been Kathleen Folbigg's lawyer on appeal, Folbigg likely would not be serving thirty years in prison in New South Wales, for the murder of her four children. Cunliffe is convinced that Folbigg was wrongly convicted; and, by the end of Murder, Medicine and Motherhood, so, I would guess, would most readers be. ...Cunliffe's book is an exhaustive examination of the Folbigg trial, and, more importantly, of the medical, evidentiary, and journalistic context within which the trial played out. Never sensationalistic, Cunliffe treats the tragedy of the unexplained deaths of four children with sensitivity [and] the analysis she brings to the Folbigg case ... is so astute and powerful Renee Ann Cramer, Law and Politics Book Review The book is a fascinating and precise study of how law and science come to 'know' through legal processes...The book unfolds over seven tightly conceived, substantive chapters, with a separate introduction and conclusion. At just over 200 pages, this is not a long book but given the depth and breadth of the research, each word counts...it makes an important and very accessible contribution to the understandings of legal and scientific knowledge in the courtroom. Doris Buss, Punishment & Society [The book] is a tour de force, with analysis of the trial transcripts, the medical literature on sudden infant death syndrome, and the media coverage of the trial. What really impressed me about this book Is the depth and meticulousness of Emma's research. she is a methodical and careful scholar who combs the transcript and the literature for the ambiguities in the evidence and the testimony. Emma's book has much to teach police investigators, lawyers, judges, and the medical profession about how subtle, yet compelling, gender ideologies are to the detriment of mothers. [The book] makes invaluable contributions to legal knowledge, advocacy, and method, not the least of which is the book's use of trial transcripts to explore the construction of guilt by police, lawyers, experts, lay witnesses, judges, and the media. Emma's work is foundational for those legal scholars working with, and thinking about, transcripts. I am tremendously inspired by her book. Elizabeth Sheehy and Christine Boyle, Canadian Journal of Women and the Law While this book arose from Cunliffe's doctoral dissertation, its application is far beyond legal studies. This is largely because she so aptly followed the tenets of sound case study research, which involved the analysis of various sources of data...and sources of literature...The text is comprehensive, inter-disciplinary, incredibly well researched, and logically persuasive. As such, it will be attractive to several audiences, including legal scholars and law students (especially those aspiring towards criminal litigation); criminologists, sociologists and political scientists; as well as perhaps health/medical professionals and gender/women's studies scholars. Angela M Moe, Theoretical Criminology Whilst certainly presenting a compelling argument, Cunliffe writes in very measured tones, taking care not to romanticize or victimize Folbigg, but rather highlighting the precarious nature of her conviction. She sensibly makes no glib statements as to Kathleen's innocence but rather very honestly reflects that she was wrongly convicted, as despite several appeals there remains too much uncertainty to draw firm conclusions - particularly conclusions that are 'beyond reasonable doubt', in order to justify the denial of liberty. ...the aim of the book is not necessarily to resolve all of the aforementioned issues but rather to highlight, discuss and deconstruct them. It satisfyingly draws all of the themes together serving as a stark warning against the oversimplification of science in law, and also a remainder that science is not an infallible source of truth. Sarah Singh, Social & Legal Studies Cunliffe's book offers an important and original contribution to discourses on wrongful conviction and the dynamics of proof beyond reasonable doubt. ...the book is well written and moves effortlessly across disciplinary boundaries taking in law, medical research and expert opinion, feminist discourse, and the media. It will provide a welcome addition to the reading list of law and journalism students and other actors interested or involved in the criminal justice system. Siôn Jenkins, Journal of Law and Society ...a valuable read for lawyers, academics and others interested in the Folbigg case for two main reasons. First, it unpacks medical and social understandings around SIDS, and its evolving conceptualisation in the socio-legal context. Second, it draws together disparate threads relevant in filicide literature, and critically assesses assumptions in law (on criminal guilt) and medicine (scientific certainty) and gendered presumptions in parenthood ideals. Janice Sim, Current Issues in Criminal Justice

About the Author

Emma Cunliffe is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Law, University of British Columbia.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By TawnTawn on April 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover
The book is based on the author's PhD dissertation and pertains to Kathleen Folbigg and the author trying to prove that she did not kill her four children. Although the prosecutor, Tedeschi, claims five during her trial - "...Three out of her five children had incidents when she happened to go to the toilet."

The most interesting part of the book is this statement from the trial judge:

"I accept that by the age of eighteen months the offender was a seriously disturbed and regressed little girl...
"It is well established that children who are neglected and suffer serious physical and sexual trauma may suffer a profound disturbance of personality development. The evidence for such a disturbance in the offender is strong, as her diaries reveal."

Do tell. But, the author does not. The few excerpts given from Folbigg's diaries do not make her look good, in fact, certainly do make her look as though she killed her children, but they don't say much if anything about her own childhood.

Folbigg and her husband are not terribly interesting. She liked to go the gym. From their statements, neither she nor her husband seem very intelligent.

The book is mainly charts, footnotes, references to other cases, and arguments that whatever was taken for evidence that Folbigg killed her children, was not enough. Perhaps the author should have been her attorney.
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