More Hayne

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

Via the comments below, check out the following exchange, taken from a murder trial in Hattiesburg, Mississippi this week. A defense lawyer is in the process of mounting a challenge to the court certifying Hayne as an expert witness.

“Is board certification required to be a forensic pathologist?” she asked.

“No,” he replied.

“What do you have to do to be a forensic pathologist?” Polk-Payton said.

“You have to (have) forensic training,” Hayne responded.


Hayne testified Tuesday that he performs between 1,500 and 1,600 autopsies a year. He said a suggested professional standard is 250 autopsies a year.

“About how many hours a day do you think you work?” Polk-Payton asked.

“I usually start work at about 8:15 in the morning,” Hayne answered. “Last night I got to bed at actually 2:30 this morning.”

Hayne testified that he only sleeps 3 1/2 to four hours a night, as a result of his work schedule.

“I don’t like to sleep. That’s the way I am, some people need sleep, some don’t – I don’t need it,” Hayne, 66, said.

Moments later, Forrest County Circuit Judge Bob Helfrich interjected.

“Dr. Hayne will be accepted by this court as an expert witness,” Helfrich said.

And so it goes. I’m told that over the last 6-8 months, defense attorneys across the state are have been challenging Hayne with questions like these. Thus far, not a single judge has declined to certify Hayne as an expert.

Helfrich, incidentally, is a former assistant district attorney for Forrest and Perry counties in Mississippi. If he had any homicide cases during his time in the DA’s office, Hayne was almost certainly the doctor who performed the autopsy.

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10 Responses to “More Hayne”

  1. #1 |  j.d. | 

    someone needs to be trailing this guy. he’s a feckin liar. and once you get him to perjure himself…it’ll be over. question is…who’s up to the task?

  2. #2 |  MikeL | 

    “Helfrich, incidentally, is a former assistant district attorney for Forrest and Perry counties in Mississippi. If he had any homicide cases during his time in the DA’s office, Hayne was almost certainly the doctor who performed the autopsy.”

    The expression “thick as thieves” was coined to describe this sort of thing.

  3. #3 |  tarran | 

    This is the inevitable outcome of tolerating one syndicate monopolizing court services.

  4. #4 |  Judi | 

    This doesn’t surprise me. With Hayne’s track record…well let’s consider WHO is keeping score. The DA’s. Yep, the “Little Rascals” have a monopoly on the court system in Mississippi.

    Hayne is making a KILLING, (don’t pardon the pun) doing autopsies on the ‘side’ at about $550.00 a pop.

    This Helfrich guy must have his head on an autopsy slab himself ( he has to be brain-dead) if he is accepting Hayne’s testimony in light of the latest controversy over this incompetent, unethical and unqualified quack.

    What the hell is it gonna take? A judge’s own INNOCENT loved one laying on an execution gurney and one plunger away from death based on Hayne’s testimony?

    Hayne cannot even ‘recall’ WHO certified him…AND he has PERJURED himself a thousand times on the stand already claiming to be something he isn’t. He can’t even pass the freakin’ State Medical Exam.

    If Hayne is ‘qualified’ as an expert witness then my training as a paramedic should qualify me to be a brain surgeon!

  5. #5 |  Andrew Williams | 

    Even if he’s not a liar–and the evidence is pretty clear on that score that he is–he is seriously sleep-deprived. My mother-in-law, at 82, believes the same thing Hayne does and gets about as much sleep per night. Her doctors are amazed that she’s still alive. So would any sane, normal human being.

    Get some sleep, Dr Hayne. Take a year off, catch up on your Z’s and do some fishing. The world will be here when you get back.

  6. #6 |  CRNewsom | 

    #5: If Hayne takes a fishing vacation, he may not get back. I am sure that there are those out there who would give him a fishing trip “Fredo style.”

  7. #7 |  Lorraine Sumrall | 

    Yeah, it’s beyond depressing that no judge so far has declined to accept Hayne as an expert. If somebody doesn’t step up to the plate then I suppose it will take the revocation of Hayne’s medical license to stop him. I called the MS Board of Medical Licensure last week to check the status of the Innocence Project’s petition to revoke Hayne’s license and spoke to a Dr. Craig who said he could “neither confirm nor deny” there was an ongoing investigation. However, I spoke to a private physician who did confirm there was an ongoing investigation and that the board was reviewing two petitions regarding all the problems with Hayne. God, I wish they would hurry up!

  8. #8 |  Russ 2000 | 

    Dr. Hayne will be accepted by this court as an expert witness,” Helfrich said

    The important part is whether the jury considers him credible.

  9. #9 |  Nick T | 

    #8 is right. Generally the standard for being admitted as an expert is pretty low. Usually the wording of the rule that allows it typically says that you have to have “training or experience beyond that of a layperson that would help the fact-finder understand an issue in the case” or somehting like that. So, say, a nurse could be an expert on medical issues even though he or she is not an MD, they still have training.

    Being qualified means the witness is permitted to offer opinions, whereas non-expert (“lay”) witnesses can only offer opinions on very limited issues that “a layperson can typically determine.” So the judge just gets to decide whether the person has the the training or experience, which is usually a very straight forward question. The jury then has to find those opinions credible or not, and hopefully a good defense attorney attacks the hell out of this hack in closing arguments.

    Also, a defense attorney can raise all of his past “mistatements” when Hayne takes the stand because it goes to his credibility. Perhaps the innocence project people should develop an outline of how to cross this guy and make it available to defense lawyers.

  10. #10 |  Tanya | 

    If defense attorneys would actually cite the research literature on the effects of sleep deprivation, maybe it wouldn’t be so easy for judges to accept him. Any intro psych book will give you the info…< than 4 hours of sleep = legal intoxication.