New Chief Justice of Mississippi Supreme Court Addresses Hayne

Friday, February 20th, 2009

This is encouraging:

Mississippi Chief Justice Bill L. Waller Jr. said on Wednesday he hopes to restore public trust in Mississippi’s judicial system by promoting “a fair and efficient administration” in the state’s Supreme Court.

Waller, who was elected as chief justice in January, said the high court plans to boost public confidence by providing better access to state courts and court records…

Waller commended state officials for their efforts to restore confidence in the state’s judicial system.For example, state Public Safety Commissioner Stephen B. Simpson removed controversial pathologist Dr. Steven Hayne from the state’s designated list of pathologists.

Hayne’s credibility and credentials came under scrutiny after his testimony helped to wrongfully convict two Mississippi men of capital murder charges. Due to legal assistance from the state’s Innocence Project, the men’s convictions were overturned last year.

Waller said cases involving Hayne’s testimony that have been appealed also are being reviewed “very closely” by the state’s Supreme Court.

“We’re going to evaluate the cases one at a time. I applaud Commissioner Simpson’s decision to go a different direction from Dr. Hayne,” he said. “We must follow appropriate standards. I think we’re moving in a better direction.”

Given that Hayne has likely testified in tens of thousands of cases, civil and criminal, I don’t know that a one-by-one, as-they-come review by the state’s supreme court will be sufficient. But it’s good to see that the new chief justice at least recognizes that Hayne is a problem. The court has been enabling Hayne for 20 years.

Meanwhile, Hayne testified in another Mississippi murder trial yesterday.

My prior reporting on Hayne here.

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11 Responses to “New Chief Justice of Mississippi Supreme Court Addresses Hayne”

  1. #1 |  Judi | 

    Well Radley, it is certainly a step in the right direction. Let’s hope they also form a SPECIAL TASK FORCE to investigate this WHOLE ugly thing.

    I’ll be more than happy to volunteer!

    Thanking you for your hard work doesn’t seem like nearly enough.

    But it’s all I have for now my good man.

  2. #2 |  Judi | 

    Acutally, it’s PAST TIME for the FEDS to step in, don’t you think?

  3. #3 |  eruvande | 

    LOL, he wants to “restore” trust in our lovely judicial system…Can one restore something that never existed?

  4. #4 |  Aresen | 

    I have a feeling that if Hayne was doing an autopsy on a guy shot by a sniper from 1000 yards away, he’d find bite mark evidence on the body linking a suspect to the killing.

  5. #5 |  Mikestermike | 

    I am not a lawyer by any means. Hell, I’d be disbarred on Law & Order. But, maybe the legal sharks out there would know this: Can the defense in the ongoing trial that Dr. Hayve testified in use Radley’s expose’ on cross-examination to help undermine the good doctor’s expertise?

  6. #6 |  Lorraine Sumrall | 

    Yeah, this case-by-case-as-it-comes-before-us review thing won’t cut it. The only thing that WILL is a systematic review of EVERY case in which Hayne was ever accepted as an expert and testified. EVERY SINGLE CASE. Nothing less will do. Hayne’s testimony is suspect in EVERY case.

  7. #7 |  Balko discovers something rotten in the state of Mississippi — FR33 Agents | 

    […] The new Chief justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court, Bill Waller, has said that appeals in cases involving the testimony of Hayne are being reviewed carefully. Note to Mississippi defense attorneys: this might be a good time to […]

  8. #8 |  Pamela | 

    Mastermike @#5
    I’m no lawyer either but I can tell you that the post conviction attorney for Brett Jones did bring up Dr. Hayne’s bad reputation and national publicity surrounding his fraudulent credentials. It went over pretty well I thought. There was no objection by the state. She asked the witness (Brett’s former attorney) if he thought that Hayne would still be credible. For some reason she withdrew the question before he answered. I’m not sure why, I wonder if she thought she over-reached. Brett’s lawyers stipulated to Hayne’s expertise during his voire dire outside the jury. I wish I had a copy of the transcript of the hearing because there was a line of questioning involving Dr. Hayne and his shattered reputation and lack of certification. I paid for it, I can get it if anyone is interested.

    Most of the hearing centered around ineffective assistance of counsel. I think the important thing was there was no objection by the prosecution.

    Thanks Mr. Balko. I saw first hand in a Mississippi court room your work and it was very, very satisfying. If you would have been there, seen the 15 year old boy, (now almost 20), in full metal jacket, finally seeing a microbe of justice from the Mississippi criminal system, you would have shed a tear or two. I was rivited. This was clearly self-defense twisted into capital murder. Let’s hope the judge shows some courage.

  9. #9 |  Pamela | 

    “full metal jacket” (leg irons, cuffs, waist chains, etc).

  10. #10 |  Gregory | 

    I won’t be satisfied until Hayne has permanently switched places with Cory Maye.

  11. #11 |  Judi | 

    What #10…Gregory said!