A few new items on the Dr. Steven Hayne debacle in Mississippi.
The paper’s editorial board was concerned enough about the responses that they fired off a separate editorial denouncing the prosecutors.
This strikes as three ostriches putting their heads in the sand. How can these DA’s be at all confident in Hayne’s work given the information that has come out about the pathologist?
The DA’s have been asked by the Innocence Project to turn over any documents pertaining to Hayne, including official reports on autopsies.
We hope they are complying. They must, if they believe in justice.
Meanwhile, the Legislature has funded $500,000 this year for a state medical examiner. The state has been without one since 1994 and if more of Hayne’s work is found to be faulty, the state will have no one but itself to blame.
Again, it’s not surprising. If any of these prosecutors were to admit to having reservations about Hayne, they’d have to admit his testimony may have tainted some of their convictions. Additionally, Hattiesburg is in Forest County, Mississippi. That’s the home of Dr. Michael West, who was also once coroner of Forest County. The good ol’ boy network runs thick in what locals call the "Pine Belt." One of the DAs interviewed for the article, Jon Mark Weathers, used Hayne in at least one civil before he became a prosecutor.
Problem is, a review of Hayne’s work by Dr. Leroy Riddick of Alabama determined that there were no other signs of alcohol poisoning, and that Hayne had every reason to question the results from the lab. Subsequent tests showed much, much lower blood-alcohol levels, as low as .02. Riddick says the child died of interstitial pneumonia and myocarditis. The mother was to be charged in the death of her son. I’m told that the charges will now likely be dropped.