Wendy Murphy's advocacy for junk science

Copyright © 2001 by Hugo S. Cunningham
first posted y10226
last update y10302

In recent years, attorney Wendy Murphy has been among the most vocal defenders of the Fells Acres day-care ritual-abuse prosecution, especially with letters to the editor.

She worked for several years in the Middlesex County DA's office, though apparently not on the Fells Acres trials (she may have arrived later). She may have been involved in the equally dubious ritual-abuse prosecution of the Souza family

Since leaving the Middlesex DA's office, she has been in private practice, a law partner with another Middlesex DA alumnus, Larry Hardoon, one of the original Fells Acres prosecutors. In 1999, filing a brief to the SJC in support of the Fells Acres prosecution, she identified herself as speaking for the "Leadership Council on Mental Health, Justice, and the Media." In 2000, in a letter supporting the Bernard Baran prosecution, she identified herself as an "adjunct professor" at the New England School of Law (Boston MA).

Her bold advocacy for nonsense has apparently won her a national reputation.

For the August 2000 issue of the "ABA [American Bar Association] Journal," William C. Smith wrote on recent US Supreme Court decisions requiring Federal judges to act as "gatekeepers," preventing unscrupulous plaintiff's attorneys from deceiving juries with well-spoken quacks. (William C. Smith, "No Escape from Science" in the "ABA Journal," pp. 60-66)

Among "junk science" scandals cited were Bendectin, Norplant, and silicone breast implants. In each case, producers suffered ruinous losses, even though no genuine scientific study demonstrated users of their products to be at higher risk. The disappearance of Bendectin was especially tragic, leaving thousands of pregnant women with no remedy for severe "morning sickness." (It is finally coming back on the market again, now that the USSC's Daubert and Kumho decisions offer the manufacturer protection against fraud.)

Naturally, legal journalist Smith needed to balance his article with the other side, articulate defenders of junk science. He found Wendy Murphy a natural choice:

Wendy Murphy stands by "repressed memory" quackery:

Return to rebuttal of Wendy Murphy letter on Fells Acres.

Return to index of Fells Acres articles.

Return to Bob Chatelle's Fells Acres report (most up-to-date coverage)