Baby-batterer Yisrael Wallis loses his appeal

By DAN IZENBERG
September 2, 2009 00:03
2 minute read.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected the appeal of Yisrael Wallis, who was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to six years in jail for killing his three-month-old son Yitzhak by shaking him so violently that the baby flew out of his hands and struck the wall with his head. The incident occurred on August 2, 2006. Wallis was looking after the boy when he started to cry. According to the verdict of the Jerusalem District Court, the young father became impatient with the baby because he wanted to sleep. In his anger, he began shaking him violently. Wallis also admitted that he had bitten the baby in the face, pinched him in the neck and chest, and slapped him. Yitzhak fell into a coma and was taken to the capital's Shaare Zedek Medical Center suffering from internal bleeding and from bleeding in the retinas of his eyes. Doctors found other signs indicating physical abuse, including teeth marks on his face. The boy died eight days later. According to the indictment, Wallis was upset with the baby because he was born with a defect in his neck muscles. During the trial, haredim rioted against the fact that the suspect was being held in custody in jail. Eventually he was released until his conviction on July 2, 2008. Wallis's lawyers, Avigdor Feldman and Miki Hova, argued in their appeal that the confession by Wallis, who had admitted during police questioning that he had shaken the baby violently and that he had slipped out of his hands, was inadmissible. For one thing, they charged that the police had not informed the suspect at the start of his interrogation that he had the right to hire a lawyer to represent him immediately. For another, one of the police interrogators, a woman, had humiliated Wallis by patting him after he had made his confession, even though he was a haredi man. The lawyers also charged that there was no proven connection between Wallis's actions and the death of the baby, since the evidence indicated, among other things, that the baby had not died of the blows but had stopped breathing. But presiding justice Edmond Levy rejected the defense's arguments, saying that the evidence and medical reports presented by the prosecution clearly indicated that the baby had been severely shaken and had suffered a severe blow to the head. Levy and Justice Asher Grunis also rejected the defense arguments that Wallis's confession should be struck because of the conduct of the police interrogators, even though the court was critical of some of the police conduct. The third justice, Hanan Meltzer, recommended reducing Wallis's sentence by one year because of the police failure to advise the suspect of his right to lawyer and the behavior of the female police interrogator.


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