Video Shows Mississippi’s “Bite Mark Expert” Michael West Using a Dental Mold to Create Bite Marks on a Corpse; Implicates Steven Hayne for Perjury

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

My story is up.

Short summary: Several months ago, I was able to obtain a pretty shocking video of one of Dr. Michael West’s infamous post-mortem “bite mark examinations.” This particular exam was performed on a 23-month-old Louisiana girl named Haley Oliveaux. As with most cases, Dr. Steven Hayne performed the initial examination on Oliveaux, claimed to have seen bite marks no other doctors saw, then called in West to perform his quackery bite mark analysis. West claimed to have traced the bite marks to Jimmie Duncan, the boyfriend of Oliveaux’s mother, and the man police suspected of murdering the girl. Duncan was convicted of capital murder, and has spent the last 10 years on death row.

The smoking gun video damns West and Hayne in two ways. First, as it opens, West is performing his initial examination. The video clearly shows that when the body of Haley Oliveaux was handed over to West and Hayne, her face was free of any abrasions or bite marks. Her cheek is clean.

The second portion of the video, taken the following day, then shows a striking abrasion. That abrasion could only have been inflicted by someone in Hayne’s office. The video also shows that Hayne must have been lying when he testified at trial that he found bite marks on the Oliveaux’s cheek, then called West in to do an analysis. The first portion of the video, taken after Hayne’s initial exam, shows no such bite marks.

The more obvious thing the video shows is Michael West repeatedly jamming, scraping, and pushing a mold of Jimmie Duncan’s teeth into Haley Oliveaux’s body, actions experts to whom I’ve shown the video say amount to criminal evidence tampering. The excerpt posted at Reason is only 30 seconds long. But the full video spans 24 minutes, during which West uses the mold to desecrate Oliveaux’s body at least 50 times.

The results of West’s “analysis” were then used to help convict Jimmie Duncan of raping and murdering Haley Oliveaux.

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89 Responses to “Video Shows Mississippi’s “Bite Mark Expert” Michael West Using a Dental Mold to Create Bite Marks on a Corpse; Implicates Steven Hayne for Perjury”

  1. #1 |  Judi | 

    Hallelujah! Been refreshing this page for 21 minutes! LOL

    Now hush and let me read this revelation!

  2. #2 |  ceanf | 

    wow

  3. #3 |  Chris M | 

    So fucked up.

    As usual, good job in bringing this to light Radley.

  4. #4 |  Cynical in CA | 

    It will be interesting to see how the State handles this situation.

  5. #5 |  Aresen | 

    Holy s**t!

    Are you absolutely sure of the authenticity?

    Not that I wouldn’t put it past them, but I don’t want you to get sued for libel.

  6. #6 |  Kristen | 

    I don’t see how I can watch that video, so I’m glad you provided a description. This is one of the most sickening things I have ever heard in my life. Ever.

  7. #7 |  Danno49 | 

    Who in the hell does this? Who makes conscious decisions to railroad another human being by mutilating the body of a child? Is it not bad enough that the child has been murdered in the first place? What the hell is wrong with these people? Good Christ I am just sick to my stomach right now.

  8. #8 |  Steve Verdon | 

    Too the torches and pitch forks!

  9. #9 |  Meh | 

    Utterly disgusting.

  10. #10 |  daten | 

    cue the CSI theme music….

    YEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!

  11. #11 |  Lorraine Sumrall | 

    Unbelievable, Radley. Just un-freaking-believable!!! Thank you SO much for continuing to investigate Hayne and West. Poor Jimmie Duncan. What CRIMINALS these two men are. What CRIMINALS.

  12. #12 |  Peter | 

    I just asked a prosecutor I know in NY, and the crimes these guys committed are:
    “tampering with evidence, perjury, offering false instruments for filing (ME’s report and death certificate) as well as federal civil rights violations.”

  13. #13 |  Zero | 

    #7 Danno49
    I don’t think the girl in the Duncan case was murdered. If you read the entire article you will note that she had seizures on multiple occasions. Probably what happened is that Duncan left her alone in the bath tub as he said. She then had a seizure and drowned. Duncan return to the bathroom and found her. He then did what he could to try to save her. That’s either a tragic accident or negligence at worst.

  14. #14 |  John Petrie | 

    Wow. This goes so far beyond the regular evil of the State. People like Hayne and West belong in the Special Hell, for sure.

  15. #15 |  Geoff | 

    Wow, I think these dudes have officially crossed into “hannibal lector” status. If there is a hell I think this might boost them to the front of the line.

  16. #16 |  Peter | 

    Zero,

    The original charge was negligent homicide, which seems to actually be the appropriate charge, and unfortunately we don’t have a good idea of what the truth is because the trial was significantly tainted.

    He might or might not be guilty of negligent homicide, but because this guy made up a capital murder, committed perjury, and destroyed the evidence of the crime, we probably won’t know.

  17. #17 |  dsmallwood | 

    dude, this transcends blogging. wth? this is a crime. a man’s life has been destroyed. WTH?! HTH do you find this stuff?

  18. #18 |  Steve Verdon | 

    That’s either a tragic accident or negligence at worst.

    Yep, most likely negligence. Never leave a small child in a tub of water.

  19. #19 |  Whim | 

    I hope Radley is absolutely, positively sure of the provenance of this video.

    He may be Rickrolled…..

  20. #20 |  Mister DNA | 

    It will be interesting to see how the State handles this situation.

    Alas, the State will handle the situation by giving Dr. West some sort of promotion.

  21. #21 |  Brandon Bowers | 

    I agree with Cynical, as usual, lately. I actually wonder if the state will push prosecutorial immunity for this crap. Desecrating a child’s corpse in order to raise a charge from negligence to capital murder? How could a sane, rational human being possibly justify this? This is nothing short of sociopathy, and it’s disgusting that these men are not in prison. I’m going to go throw up now.

  22. #22 |  Cynical in CA | 

    Very likely, Mr. DNA. The State rewards failure, and it celebrates crime.

  23. #23 |  claude | 

    Keep up the good work.

  24. #24 |  Judi | 

    Geesh…why am I NOT surprised? Hollywood makeup artists could not have done a better job.

    Hayne and West are more like Laurel and Hardy.

    What IDIOT cannot see the difference on this child’s body/cheek?

    Stevie Wonder could SEE this!

    This is why I FIGHT and will NOT give up.

    If the state of Mississippi and Louisiana continue to IGNORE this, I vote that they move their states to Afghanistan.

    Thanx Radley Balko, you are a true American Hero and a heluva a man!

  25. #25 |  John | 

    That’s incredible. There has got to be some award with your name on it for your work on this. I can’t wait to see where this goes from here.

  26. #26 |  DeadGuy | 

    WOW! You sure did deliver as promised. Brilliant! I particularly like all the outside experts that were consulted. Did the experts that filed affadavits do so because you showed them the video or did you find them because they submitted affidavits?

    I’ve done autopsy duty in a past life and this is a major, major issue taught in the very first moments. Handling the bodies is very delicate and must be done with the least chance of causing post-mortem damage. The face and neck and abdomen are particularly susceptible. Did you know that just the weight of a simple sheet used to cover the body can collapse the nose and flatten it out? Jamming a dental impression in that way into the cheek of a living person would cause marks, let alone delicate tissue that is already beginning to decompose.

    Absolutely shameful. Is this guy some sort of strange version of a serial killer? If his false testimony actually results in death sentences, isn’t that along the lines of a serial killer? I mean, why in the world would someone do something like that?

    This just blows me away…and it scares the hell out of me. He also had children removed from parents because of his analysis. That could happen to anyone taking a child to the ER for any reason. That’s just frightening.

    This is pulitzer material along the lines of Watergate. I can’t believe that more papers aren’t paying attention.

  27. #27 |  cliff | 

    Someone commented a day or two ago that your blog should be called “The Infuriator.” I’d agree. I can’t read it anymore without boiling over in anger and frustration. The problem is, if you have anything worth saving…a family for instance, radical solutions are not available. Woe be to them when ‘we’ have nothing left to lose.

  28. #28 |  Edwin Sheldon | 

    Oh my fucking god.

    The video above was never shown at Jimmie Duncan’s trial. It wasn’t even shown to the expert witnesses from either side. Trial Judge Charles Joiner did view the tape, and inexplicably concluded that it contained “no exculpatory evidence favorable to the defendant,” a conclusion that the forensics specialists Reason spoke with strongly dispute.

    Excuse me? The judge is either blind, or he criminally conspired with the prosecution to put an innocent man behind bars for murder. Joiner and West should hang for this. (I am not being figurative.)

  29. #29 |  Edwin Sheldon | 

    By the way, well done on the article, Radley. This and “CSI: Mississippi” are both some of the best pieces of investigative journalism I have ever read.

  30. #30 |  Salvo | 

    Every person with a law license who saw that video should be disbarred. The prosecutors should be charged with suborning perjury. The judge, likewise. The defense should be sued into indentured servitude for ineffective assistance of counsel. Hayne and West should be sued and put on trial for each charge, sentences to run consecutively. Oh, and attempted murder charges for all involved too. I’m sure I could come up with other charges if you gave me time.

    Any of the police who knew about the video and said nothing should be charged likewise, after being fired.

    Any case that came before Judge Joiner and the prosecutors should be reviewed. All case files from the police in charge of this investigation as well.

    Oh, and this would serve as prima facie evidence of why the death penalty is unconstitutional.

    In a just world, the fall out from this would take years to clean up.

    Sadly, it will probably be swept under the rug as shrill hysterics from that lunatic Balko.

  31. #31 |  Chris | 

    This is the sort of story that needs to be picked up by the major news sources. I am glad that I started reading this blog a couple years ago as it has opened my eyes to the large amount of flaws in the criminal justice system. I had suspected there were major mistakes made in some cases, but not to the level I have seen reported here. It just boggles my mind and truly disheartens me. Is there any hope of obtaining real justice in this country?

  32. #32 |  Zargon | 

    “It will be interesting to see how the State handles this situation.”

    Well, this is a little too damning. It like how cops get off 99% of the time when they shoot people, but that case where they got caught shooting the grandma, handcuffing her afterwards, then planting drugs in her basement before calling the ambulance, they simply had to do something so that the masses wouldn’t realize they’re totally disposable cattle in the eyes of many cops.

    That said, even this isn’t as appalling as that murder case, even if the total damage done by these two is orders of magnitude larger than one person killed.

    My money’s on them losing their jobs, and possibly their licenses. If there’s a mechanism by which they are automatically denied getting a new license in another state, they might be done for good, otherwise, expect to see them back in action in another state in a few years.

    There is absolutely no way they’ll be seriously prosecuted. They’ve scratched way too many prosecutor backs, and would almost certainly be able to implicate the prosecutors themselves in implicitly consenting to the fraud if they wanted to.

  33. #33 |  MacK | 

    Not to sound morbid, but do some of you think someone killed a little girl, and did this to her, so they could fake Radley out??

    The tape was in the defenses hands, and they never used it. We do not know why. In fact they did not even show it to other experts, that could have said… Holy shit we got us a real crime here.

    According to Duncan he left her in the bathtub, and went to wash dishes, when he returned she was motionless in the tube. Negligent homicide, or manslaughter I can easily agree with. I can’t imagine me walking away from a baby in a tub.

    I guess that was not what the parish wanted though.
    “Among those who traveled 120 miles to observe the examination were the West Monroe police chief, a police detective and captain, plus two assistant district attorneys.
    They were going to kill (go for a death penalty) Duncan long before it got to Hayne, or West. Hayne, and West were accomplices going to load the guns used to kill Duncan.

  34. #34 |  Steve Verdon | 

    I also note nothing from Patterico. Not surprising really, admitting you were wrong and your previous attacks were in error is not something most people can do.

  35. #35 |  ktc2 | 

    Awesome job, as usual, Mr. Balko.

    I wish I had higher hopes for any justice actually coming of it. Sadly I expect they’ll find a way to chalk it up to incompetence or some “new radical” procedure they developed and find a whole cadre of quacks to lie for them.

    Yes, I’ve lost all hope of restoring our “justice” system to even it’s former flawed but not insane state.

  36. #36 |  jet | 

    I sincerely hope to hear this screamed from rooftops in the “mainstream” media outlets in the not too distant future. This has got to be the most gross miscarriage of “justice” that I’ve ever seen, that Jimmy Duncan continues to sit behind bars when we now know EXACTLY who bit that poor little girl….

    I feel physically ill.

    Can we start a blogstorm to get the ball rolling??

  37. #37 |  Andrew | 

    Wow.

    Once again, amazing work Radley. I just wish I had any confidence that Michael West would face any punishment (legal or otherwise) for this.

  38. #38 |  Chris in AL | 

    Radley, amazing work. Again.

    And while I agree that Hayne and West should suffer in every single way possible, I hope the focus is not fixated on them too narrowly.

    These guys performed a service they were asked, and paid, to perform. This isn’t 2 evil guys pulling the wool over the entire justice system’s eyes to wrongfully convict people out of some personal motivation. They are the dirty accountants that you count on to make the books look the way you want them to look. It is the people that USE their services that should really scare us. Because all they are going to do is throw Hayne and West to the wolves when the time comes. The real ‘evil-doers’ on this one will walk. As usual.

    Judi, you said “if the state of Mississippi and Louisiana continue to IGNORE this…”

    Ignore it? They sponsored it. They engaged in it. They paid for it. They knew exactly who they could go to when they didn’t want to know what the evidence showed, but wanted the evidence to show what they wanted.

    The idea that catching these 2 evil guys is a win for justice is dangerously wrong. These two faking evidence isn’t the real problem. The DA who had this video in his file, while an innocent man rotted on death row on faked evidence is the problem.

    All the DAs who know that Hayne and West are ‘book cookers’ are the problem. All the judges and all the cops who know. Hayne and West are the small fries in this crime ring. We can’t get too excited if they get taken down. They are really nobodies, and they are easily replaced by other dirty ‘experts’.

  39. #39 |  Les | 

    Needless to say, Radley, well done. If everyone here would go to the article on Reason and click on the “digg” link at the end, it will allow you to “digg it up” and bring it to the attention of more people.

  40. #40 |  Les | 

    Ah. Yes. I didn’t see that Radley already asked you to “digg” it in his latest post. All the more reason! Ahem…I’ll just go…and…”digg” it, now…

  41. #41 |  Zargon | 

    “The DA who had this video in his file, while an innocent man rotted on death row on faked evidence is the problem.”

    I submit that even that is not the problem. The problem is the system that allows people with the title of DA to do this. In fact, it not only allows them to do it, it encourages and rewards them for doing this, and afterwards it protects them from the consequences of their actions. Vigilante justice might not be a perfect solution, but it’s the only recourse the real victims in this case have at their disposal, and it’s the system, not the people, that make it so.

  42. #42 |  Matt | 

    I feel quite sick to my stomach right now, nothing else to say

  43. #43 |  ClubMedSux | 

    As a human being, I can’t begin to imagine the pain needlessly suffered by Duncan as well as others involved (such as the girl’s parents, flawed as they may be) as a result of the actions of West et al.

    As a lawyer, I can’t begin to imagine the stupidity that would lead somebody to videotape such actions. There’s a part of me that questions the authenticity of the tape for no other reason than that I can’t fathom anybody being that dumb.

  44. #44 |  Nick T | 

    This is just the most upsetting thing I have scene in a very long time. CREATING evidence out of whole clothe is pure evil. While over-stating your confidence in your science, or ignoring some evidence that doesn’t support your case is wrong, I can at least understand it on a humanistic level. But this? This is just the worst thing I can imagine.

    As an attorney that stands up for people against the power and BS of the state, I am heart-broken that the defense attorneys for this man failed to see the value in this tape. I really can’t wrap my mind around it, other than to assume they simply never watched it.

    I predict what we will see is West and Hayne sliced and diced and villified to high hell, while the rest of those involved in this case wipe their hands and say something like “hey they were experts…. doctors…. jury…. dead child…tough on crime!”

    Is this going to get any major media coverage at all?

  45. #45 |  Ben | 

    Radley, I believe that you are on your way to being one of the more important investigative journalists of our time.

    Keep up the excellent work.

  46. #46 |  Cynical in CA | 

    CinCA: “It will be interesting to see how the State handles this situation.”

    Zargon: “Well, this is a little too damning. It like how cops get off 99% of the time when they shoot people, but that case where they got caught shooting the grandma, handcuffing her afterwards, then planting drugs in her basement before calling the ambulance, they simply had to do something so that the masses wouldn’t realize they’re totally disposable cattle in the eyes of many cops.”

    You’re probably right Zargon, or at least I hope you’re right. I’m just trying to fit this into the hypothesis that the State will defend its agents at all costs unless they act for personal gain. That would seal the fates of Hayne and West.

  47. #47 |  Lorraine Sumrall | 

    I sent your article to the attorney general of Mississippi. Every single case Hayne and/or West worked on in Mississippi and Louisiana should be reopened and reinvestigated. Period.

  48. #48 |  Stephen | 

    Time to use Hammurabi’s codes 1 and 3.

    I especially like 3.

    “If any one bring an accusation of any crime before the elders, and does not prove what he has charged, he shall, if it be a capital offense charged, be put to death.”

    West belongs on death row.

  49. #49 |  Bourgeois_Rage | 

    Radley: Thank you for doing what needs to be done.

  50. #50 |  Brandon Bowers | 

    ClubMed, it’s not stupidity, it’s absolute hubris. He had no fear of getting caught, and even less fear of being punished if he was caught.

  51. #51 |  Dakota | 

    One of the more clear cases of being framed that I have ever read. Wow.

  52. #52 |  ShelbyC | 

    Seems kinda funny. Why would they videotape it?

  53. #53 |  chance | 

    Mr. Balko, if the state refuses to do anything about this (and why would they? They were complicit) is it possible you or another organization (innocence project, ACLU, whoever) could bring this evidence to a federal prosecutor for a civil rights suit? Or would you not have standing to do so (if that’s the term)?

  54. #54 |  Ben | 

    Why would they videotape it?

    Probably it’s state law to video tape autopsies. Likely one of the few things that L&O type shows get right.

  55. #55 |  Cynical In CA | 

    “Oh, and this would serve as prima facie evidence of why the death penalty is unconstitutional.”

    Whether something is unconstitutional is for a legal system such as exists in the USA to decide.

    Something may be immoral and yet constitutional (e.g., taxation).

    It is misguided to conflate constitutionality with morality. Nothing could be further from the truth, because the U.S. Constitution is inherently immoral (see Lysander Spooner).

    The death penalty is immoral. That is all that need be said.

  56. #56 |  Danimal | 

    Holy shit, Radley — this is amazing stuff. This gonna get you your first Pullitzer? You’re changing the world, my friend.

  57. #57 |  Cynical In CA | 

    “Why would they videotape it?”

    Because if the State agents are not acting for direct personal gain and are acting in their official capacity, it has been demonstrated that they have full sanction of the State, irrespective of their actions.

    The details of this specific case bear that out. Videotaping is risk-free, for coroners, for LEOs, whatever.

  58. #58 |  Cynical In CA | 

    “He had no fear of getting caught, and even less fear of being punished if he was caught.”

    This is an interesting comment, Brandon, because it reads strangely at first glance. How could someone have less than no fear of being punished if caught? Negative fear?

    But what is negative fear?

    Confidence?

    These guys would feel more comfortable if they were caught? That says much about the State system. All of it is bad.

  59. #59 |  Zargon | 

    Oh ho, but it is, in fact, constitutional. The constitution lays out a system of government with the absolute and final authority on judging the “constitutionality” of it’s own actions. Therefore, just because peasants such as you or I look at a particular government action, compare it to the constitution, and call “unconstitutional!” does not in fact make the action unconstitutional. By the rules of the constitution, we don’t get to make that call.

    The only entity with the authority to deem a government action unconstitutional is the government itself. The government has judged the death penalty constitutional (as the constitution says it may), and therefore it is. End of story.

    Under the rules of the constitution, the government may do absolutely anything at all, and so long as the government judges do not deem it unconstitutional, it is not.

  60. #60 |  Brian Moore | 

    Wow. Absolutely crazy.

    You are doing very good work in exposing this.

    Thank you.

  61. #61 |  Danno49 | 

    #13 Zero –

    My bad – thanks for pointing that out. I tried reading the whole thing at the time but was just so fucking disgusted by the premise that I had assumed the worse. Of course, my sentiments toward the douche bags who mutilated the body of that poor girl still stand as written.

  62. #62 |  Danimal | 

    Radley,

    For the love of God, please tell me that you’re getting calls from other media about this story.

  63. #63 |  Scott | 

    So what’s the deal with the rape charge? I’m guessing Hayne and Co. manufactured evidence to support it in order to make Duncan appear even ickier to the jury. Although, given what we know about Hayne maybe he was just having a little too much fun creating his dark little fantasy and got carried away.

  64. #64 |  Threads from Henry’s Web » The Value and Danger of Forensics | 

    [...] Balko has a story about manufactured evidence (HT: his Agitator blog), and a particularly blatant one. His story comes as the National Academy of Science has [...]

  65. #65 |  Judi | 

    To Chris in Al: I know better than most that what you are saying is true.

    I am speaking of the fact that the STATE MUST re-open the Hayne/West cases instead of acting as though nothing has happened.

    They keep babbling about better forensics, etc…yet that have NOT cleaned the remains of the crumbling building they left behind.

    Can’t build a NEW house on that kind of foundation.

    Note to self: Don’t video tape your own stupidity!

    It’s ironic that these so-called ‘experts’ taped themselves creating grounds for perjury!

    This is poetic justice in action.

    Can’t wait until the finale and the credits roll!

  66. #66 |  Nick T | 

    Scott, I think that charged came from the child have a dialated orifice, but no biological evidence was discovered (e.g. semen). Other medical experts, I believe have stated that such a dialation is consistent with head trauma and not necessarily indicative of rape or penetration. Of course that just seems like an overzealous medical conclusion by prosecution friendly witnesses as opposed to all-out manufacturing of evidence.

    I could be wrong but I know I read about a case like this involving hayne and west somewhere. That’s my guess.

    Anyone seen any major media coverage on this thing?

  67. #67 |  jet | 

    Judi: Perjury? That seems to me to be the LEAST of their crimes at this point!

  68. #68 |  Marty | 

    horrifying. the question in my mind is, ‘what made them start manufacturing evidence?!!!’ Was it to cover up a crime committed by a friend? Was it to help a prosecutor lock someone up ‘they were sure’ was guilty? Was it for the thrill? Was there a race motivation? Surely, no one thinks this is the only time they’ve done this?!!!

    Spectacular job, Radley!

  69. #69 |  Euler | 

    What these two accomplices did they did with the knowledge that their actions would land a man on death row. If there is any justice in this country, they would both be convicted of conspiracy to commit murder and attempted murder and would be spending the rest of their lifes inside a jail cell.

  70. #70 |  jet | 

    I don’t see any major media coverage yet, but apparently Hayne is testifying in another case.
    http://tinyurl.com/cczvob

    Maybe someone should call the defendent’s lawyers and point them at Reason??

  71. #71 |  Benway | 

    To Chance: a civil rights action is a long shot, due to the unreasonable protections given to prosecutors, and the fact that Hayne and West were part of “a criminal autopsy market in which prosecutors contract out examinations to favored private doctors”–i.e., they’re probably not state actors for civil rights purposes. But I have some free time, a law degree, and access to excellent resources. I’ll see what I can dig up.

    In the meantime, we need a publicity blitz for this article. Words can be ignored, or dismissed as the rantings of some lone wacko, but the video speaks for itself. It says “Hayne and West, your day of reckoning is coming.” If enough people see the video, it’s coming very soon.

  72. #72 |  Balko discovers something rotten in the state of Mississippi — FR33 Agents | 

    [...] you think. Thanks for visiting!And by rotten, I mean truly disgusting. My stomach turned reading Radley’s account of a purported “forensic expert” faking evidence of bite marks on the face of a girl [...]

  73. #73 |  Michael | 

    But by the grace of God…. I walked in on my daughter when she was this age,flat on her back, under water, staring up at the ceiling. She did not even cry when I lifter her out! If I had messed around another two minutes! Thank God I did not!

    The child, in the video, had no obvious marks initially. What a mess. Good work Radley!

    I, also, had to deal with a similar situation. I was called to the ER to see a child who was being given CPR. About the same age. She had become trapped in a playpen and suffocated. This was shortly after a special on one of the TV news programs like 60 minutes, that pointed out the dangers of the playpens. The child was beautiful. There was not a mark on her. She could not be resuscitated.

    The mother had another child, removed form her home, and was under suspicion after there was noted to be swelling around the brain, and in the lungs, at the autopsy done in the state capitol. Hell, we had beat on this little girls chest, trying to bring her back for an hour! And the sheriff had the nerve to do this, when it had been on TV within the last month, as to how the incident most likely went down!

    They are so quick to judge without good evidence. Looks like many are lucky that it is not made up, as it appeared to be with this with the bite mark evidence! Its like their attitude is “Somebody has to pay!” This needs to be stopped.

    I would think that tampering like this should require some jail time. But that is only wishful thinking! Where did they find the video?

    I missed the part on the rape!? How was that “proven”? Or, was it?

  74. #74 |  nwerner | 

    I certainly hope that Radley will publish a disclaimer on how this could advance his career lest knobs like Patterico launch another salvo against his good work exposing people like Hayne and West. Funny how prosecutors are the first to defend these types and the last to prosecute them.

  75. #75 |  Justice Louisiana Style « The NorLa Blog | 

    [...] Louisiana Style Stunning work by Radley Balko: Several months ago, I was able to obtain a pretty shocking video of one of Dr. [...]

  76. #76 |  Judi | 

    In your face Jim Hood!

  77. #77 |  Lorraine Sumrall | 

    Oh, Judi, I see I’m not the only one waiting for Jim Hood to be exposed!

  78. #78 |  Two--Four | 

    [...] scores of murder cases that most likely ended in wrongful convictions.”Rogier van Bakel high-fives The Agitator, who has been dogging the impossible Haynes’ bones for a long time now. The latter should long have [...]

  79. #79 |  Nick T | 

    Marty,

    I think this could be the natural endgame of cutting corners when you “know” someone is guilty. In this case no one disputed that Duncan was with the girl when she died. Most people would agree that he did SOMETHING wrong that is perhaps criminal. So Hayne and West very reasonably believed they were going after a “bad guy.”

    Of all the cases where cops, prosecutors and witnesses cut corners because they “know” the guy is guilty, this seemed to be a case where at least the identity of the culprit was not in question at all. Perhaps with higher level of certainty these animals felt like a higher degree of unlawful and criminal behavior was justified.

    that would be my guess as to why they did this. I still get sick when I think about this long enough. Why do I feel liek no one is talking about it?

  80. #80 |  Alex | 

    I’m leaving something in the tip jar. Your work is too important to not support.

  81. #81 |  Jim C. | 

    #34 | Steve Verdon

    Patterico also did not write about the price of tea in China, the location of the Holy Grail, or whether the Loch Ness monster and Bigfoot are connected. Very telling.

  82. #82 |  Mike | 

    I predict Patterico will double down. Prosecutors can never admit they are wrong. But it will be interesting to see how he defends Hayne and West this time.

  83. #83 |  markm | 

    IF there was a federal DA that was actually interested in justice…

    Tampering with evidence is certainly a crime (unless Mississippi is unique among states this way), and Hayes and West are obviously guilty. But that’s a state offense. OTOH, they are also clearly conspiring to violate Duncan’s civil rights, and that is in federal jurisdiction.

    Second, Radley has documented several other instances where Hayes or West appears to have tampered with evidence and/or committed perjury, both to favor the prosecution and to bury cases the prosecution did not want to investigate. IIRC, if you have probable cause for three separate crimes committed by persons linked in a conspiracy, you have a RICO case. They don’t have to be federal crimes.

    Third,with a RICO case you can drag in everyone that aided and abetted the conspiracy. That is, DA’s and cops all over Mississippi. They may be immune as to their decisions to charge or not charge, but not for knowingly introducing false evidence.

    Finally, you pile up charges so everyone is facing 200+ years of consecutive sentences, and start making deals. Maybe you can’t prove much of it in court, but given the chance of being convicted of fifty felonies and spending the rest of your life in prison, versus (say) pleading guilty to one small felony and cooperating in framing prosecuting the holdouts in exchange for a suspended sentence…

    Okay, perhaps not at all just for any actually innocent men caught in this web. But godawful unjust laws like RICO aren’t going to be changed until the great and powerful discover they aren’t safe from them…

  84. #84 |  Blagnet.net » Pulitzer for Balko? | 

    [...] commenter to this Radley Balko post suggested he deserves a nomination for the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting. I think that [...]

  85. #85 |  Kepo | 

    Does anyone know more about Dr. West and Dr. Hanyes? I am horrified about this….I watched the video…I always thought that it took a day or two before bite marks showed up, but that poor babies check is wrecked! Why would someone do this, any more info on these people or case?

  86. #86 |  Kepo | 

    How did anyone find this video? Why was in not used as evidence in the case?

  87. #87 |  Patterico’s Pontifications » Balko Acolyte: Patterico Maintains Curious Silence on Damning Blog Post for Almost a Whole Hour! | 

    [...] minutes later, at 2:14 Eastern time, Balko acolyte Steve Verdon took me to task for not having written anything about it. Verdon argued that my curious nearly hour-long silence [...]

  88. #88 |  Patterico’s Pontifications » Balko Response Fallout: Verdon Still Suspiciously Silent; Jimmie Duncan’s Lawyer Not So Silent | 

    [...] Steve Verdon denounced my suspicious silence for failing to respond to a Radley Balko article that Verdon felt had showed me up somehow. The [...]

  89. #89 |  Radley Balko on the Fabricated Bite Mark Forensics of Michael West - Forbes | 

    [...] to me that these hacks get away with this for so long. It’s not exactly news at this point. Balko was writing about West years ago, and videos of his miraculous bite mark discoveries have surfaced before: Several months ago, I was [...]

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