The Akron woman convicted of killing a toddler she was babysitting in 2010 has had her first appeal rejected.
The Ninth District Court of Appeals denied the request of a reversal of Tiffani Calise's conviction for Murder, Involuntary Manslaughter, and Endangering Children in the death of 23-month-old Aaliyah Ali.
Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh says Calise's lawyers had many arguments for her conviction to be overturned, the most relevant being they wanted to present evidence in court re-creating a slip-and-fall, which Judge Allison McCarty did not allow.
McCarty said that had no direct relevance to the case, and the appeals court agreed.
For the prosecution, the jury heard from four doctors which determined Ali's injuries were sustained by violent shaking. Calise is serving a life prison term for the crime. She was babysitting a neighbor's child at the time of the incident.
(press release) AKRON, OHIO – October 17, 2012 – Summit County Prosecuting Attorney Sherri Bevan Walsh today announced that a three-member panel of judges from the Ninth District Court of Appeals unanimously upheld Tiffani Calise’s convictions for Murder, Involuntary Manslaughter and two counts of Child Endangering in the death of 23-month-old Aaliyah Ali.
“I am pleased that the Court of Appeals agreed with my office and Judge McCarty that the jury was correct in finding Ms. Calise guilty,” said Prosecutor Walsh. “It is always a terrible sadness when a child is murdered, and now Aaliyah’s family will not have to relive that sorrow through another trial or sentencing.”
In August 2011, a jury convicted Calise, then 20, in the 2010 death of Aaliyah, a neighbor Calise was babysitting. Four medical experts testified at Calise’s trial that Aaliyah’s fatal head injuries were not caused by a fall in a bathtub as Calise claimed but were the result of violent shaking. Judge Alison McCarty sentenced Calise to life in prison.
Calise appealed Judge McCarty’s decision to exclude expert testimony of an expert in biomechanics who attempted to recreate Aaliyah’s alleged slip and fall in a bathtub. The appellate court ruled that McCarty was correct in excluding the testimony because it was not based on sound scientific principles. The appellate court also found that Calise’s convictions were supported by the evidence, particularly the testimony of the State’s four medical experts, three of whom are physicians at Children’s Hospital.