Breaking News in Mississippi

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

According to Jackson TV station WLBT, Bruce Levy, who is the Tennessee state medical examiner and the owner of the private company in Nashville where Mississippi began sending its autopsies after firing Steven Hayne, has been arrested in Mississippi on a drug charge.

I only know what’s in the short story linked above.

MORE: I have more on this, including the suspicious timing of Levy’s arrest, over at Hit & Run.

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38 Responses to “Breaking News in Mississippi”

  1. #1 |  Andrew S. | 

    Aw, when I first glanced I thought this said that Hayne had been arrested in MS on a drug charge. That would’ve been even better.

  2. #2 |  Rhayader | 

    Sweet, now his suitability and competence as a government contractor/witness can be ignored in favor of a discussion about trace amounts of certain chemicals in his blood. I’m sure that will go a long way toward correcting the massive problems Radley has reported on with this medical examiner stuff.

  3. #3 |  Waste93 | 

    Wonder if they will use this in an effort to bring back Hayne.

  4. #4 |  Saint Zero | 

    Drug Charges is a little vague.

  5. #5 |  Judi | 

    Waste93, what do YOU think? I think it’s pretty clear.

  6. #6 |  Number 6 | 

    Saint Zero-Read the H&R post.
    This is odd, to say the least. There may not be a fire, but it certainly smells smoky.

  7. #7 |  Nando | 

    Well, the same thing (ok, not MJ, but drugs) happened to Calvo, and we know he wasn’t involved in drugs. Maybe the same thing happened here (where the Levy had no idea about the package, or what was in it).

  8. #8 |  Mike Leatherwood | 

    Why would a doctor, who has access to any prescription med he wants, order pot out-of-state?

  9. #9 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Generally, libertarians are not big on professional certifications, which to me is the same thing as licensing. I can understand the case for certification from the perspective of arguing in a language the government is used to, but I think the condemnation of Hayne can be based entirely on his substandard performance relative to commonly accepted practices.

    As much as I hate to admit it, this type of corruption makes a convincing case in favor of licensing. So how is this differentiated from other licensing requirements that we know are really only an attempt to suppress competition? Is it a double standard to demand that government use a licensed practitioner while arguing against it when it comes to ordinary consumers markets?

  10. #10 |  scott | 

    I wonder if would be interested in developing a reality-television series based solely around the discovery portion of the inevitable civil suit Levy’s gonna file.

    I’d consider it a sort of Run-of-the-mill Cop/Court Drama sorbet, and it would be deeeelicious.

  11. #11 |  Saint Zero | 

    They updated since I last read.

    I’m wondering if one could tie Madison’s “Finest” in on this. Otherwise, it smells of set-up, plain and simple.

  12. #12 |  John Thacker | 

    Is it a double standard to demand that government use a licensed practitioner while arguing against it when it comes to ordinary consumers markets?

    No, I would argue that there’s a big difference between:

    1) The government imposing a requirement that it use a licensed practitioner, and
    2) The government forbidding two private parties from engaging in a voluntary transaction because one is not licensed.

    Libertarians aren’t against, e.g., a private party wishing only to hire the licensed and certified.

    I will grant that it produces some odd results under an entirely socialist system (just as NEA requirements could infringe on free speech more if the only possible arts funding source were the NEA), but I tend to regard those problems as inevitable problems of socialism.

  13. #13 |  Cyto | 

    The circumstances just don’t pass the sniff test. Who buys large quantities of pot while on the road for a few days for business from a strange dealer?

    If he was flying – he certainly wouldn’t want to carry it with him coming back, so he wouldn’t buy that much. And if he was driving, why wouldn’t he just bring some from home?

    If they cannot produce audio of the buy order, we’ll know for sure that it is an out-and-out frame job. Even with audio, it still smells funny.

  14. #14 |  Dave Krueger | 

    I’m thinking it’s going to really add some miles to my trip if from now on I decide not to drive through Mississippi on my way from Alabama to New Orleans. I’ve heard stories of people getting stuck in Turkish prisons for life on some trumped up drug charge. Mississippi is like the U.S. version of Turkey.

  15. #15 |  Michael Chaney | 

    On topic – holy shit.

    Off topic – ruh roh, scooby, more problems for the pieces of shit that killed Jonathan Ayers:

  16. #16 |  Mike T | 


    I disagree. Certification and licensure are not the same thing. The former is just a group vouching for your level of knowledge. Even diplomas are nothing more than a form of certification. For large institutions, certification can be quite necessary as a tool to weed out or at least punish cronyism and nepotism since it’s often a reasonably effective barrier to entry for people who get by almost entirely on who they know, not what they can do.

  17. #17 |  Mike T | 

    I’ll also add that I would generally agree that certification should not be absolutely necessary to get a job. However, in the case of the government, it’s extremely important considering how many contract positions are awarded with motivations that are often highly political like women, minority and small business set asides in the federal government. Mandating certification can be one of the tax payers’ last lines of defense.

  18. #18 |  Bob | 

    Let me get this straight:

    The guy goes to an extended stay hotel in Mississippi while working on a trial there, and has boxes of Marijuana shipped to him in sub-ounce quantities via FedEx? Then… since one box isn’t enough for an arrest, much less a felony… conveniently has several more packages of the same kind on hand to push the quantity to that which is required for a felony (30 grams)?

    Why would he not have this quantity shipped to him in Tennessee instead? There, possession of any amount is a misdemeanor on the first offense.

    Even then, in Mississippi, possession of less than 30 grams is a summons only… with a 100 to 250 dollar fine. no arrest.

    As such, there was no probable cause for arrest based only on the one FedEx package. And there was no reason to believe the ‘investigation’ was based on anything other than the one package.

    In fact, it’s wholly unreasonable that the police would even bother with such a small amount of marijuana in light of the current law there.

    Unless of course, this is a giant frame job. Oh hey! Cancel the call to Sherlock Holmes! I think I just broke the case!

  19. #19 |  David in Balt | 

    @ 9

    I don’t think that there is necessarily a conflict if we properly define what we are talking about. As a libertarian I see no inherent conflict between voluntary transactions and licensing per se. In fact, I would argue that licensing is the best method libertarians can use to ensure quality control without government interference. The difference between a “libertarian licensing” and a government would be voluntarism. Where a government uses licensing to coerce people into artificially limiting supply whereas a libertarian licensing system would be voluntary in nature.

    Think about it like this. In libertopia there are a group of doctors worried about all the quackery going on and want to establish some minimum standards that all practitioners of scientific medicine should adhere to. In order to be listed from their organization as a ‘licensed’ doctor you must pass certain tests and jump through certain ethical and practical hoops before they will qualify you. This sort of licensing is both a good idea in that it improves quality (giving consumers a way to identify good, reputable doctors) and it is voluntary and non-coercive.

    From what I understand the conflict with libertarianism and the Hayes case is one that results simply from the nature of the current licensing system, not from licensing per se. So while libertarians should be arguing against licensing in the current sense, we also have at least an ethical responsibility to argue against Hayes and for a (unfortunately currently state licensed) individual because Hayes clearly will do more damage then good. We should work to both remove Hayes and to advocate for a reform in licensing at large. I see no conflict in working toward both simultaneously.

  20. #20 |  SJE | 

    This smells bad.

    The real issue is Steven Hayne, not Bruce Levy. If Steven Hayne is incompetent to perform autopsies, he shouln’t be practicing, whether or not Bruce Levy is great, or is a serial killing drug dealer.

    Pass the damn bill, MS

  21. #21 |  craig | 

    anyone see the similarities between this case and cheye calvo….Now I gotta be wary of the friggin UPS guy or Fedex guy?

  22. #22 |  EH | 

    #18: I think it will result in a tidy object lesson in the low standard that has been set for PC.

  23. #23 |  Judi | 

    Craig, Now you need to ‘be wary’ of Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny.

    And you left out USPS….wouldn’t want to discriminate, ya know?

    Yeah, I smell ‘smoke’…er…a…

    Calvo/Levy…hmmm…ahhh the parallels…

    These guys in Mississippi need to re-write the script when trying to frame people…this song and dance is sooooo ‘yesterday’.

  24. #24 |  Judi | 

    Well here ya go…see? Mistakes can be made…even by the police!

    Well who wudda thunk it? LOL

    Weed seems to show up in the strangest of places…hmmm…?

  25. #25 |  Judi | 

    If the cops are going to be delivering drugs to people, it looks like they’d at least get it right!

    (See link above)

    “As the BLUE-LIGHT Turns” continues tomorrow, same time, same damned channel…

    Pass the TV remote please…lol.

  26. #26 |  Bronwyn | 

    How is this not national news?

  27. #27 |  PersonFromPorlock | 

    Lots of federal hooks in this one: apparent attempt to fradulently restrain interstate commerce, for instance. If I were Levy, I’d be screaming for an immediate federal investigation.

  28. #28 |  Dave Krueger | 

    John Thacker, Mike T, David in Balt

    Thanks for the comments. I understand that libertarians aren’t opposed to credentials as a evidence that someone has earned a certain level of mastery over a skill. I agree that the problem is when the choice to engage in a transaction is taken out of the hands of either of the involved parties, placing it in the hands of another person or body. My question is more about whether it is hypocritical for us to force the government to use only certified services while denying their right to impose the same on us.

    After reading through the comments, I have now resolved the question this way: In the case of private individuals, we have the option to choose to only purchase services from a certified provider. Since citizens are also the ultimate consumer of services purchased by government, we also have the right to demand that government use only certified providers.

    Finally, Mike T, I do see your point that there is a difference between a certification and a license. Now that I think about it,I can see they aren’t even close. Certification is information. A license is permission.

  29. #29 |  David in Balt | 

    @ 28

    I think there is an even more fundamental difference then that Dave. I think, and I realize I failed to clarify this in my original post to you, that the major difference is between volunteerism and coercion. If I choose to use an unlicensed, unbonded contractor (or unlicensed doctor), that is one thing. I have voluntarily chosen to go with a person who has no verifiable credentials (forgetting for a moment the whole state licensing issue). The same is not true with someone like Hayes. In the case of Hayes and the state, armed men show up to me, arrest me, force me into a room and with the help of Hayes rob me of my property, my time, and possibly my life. I had no choice at all to wager my health, property, etc. on an unsure choice, I was forced to do it against my will. Whatsmore, the person who is testifying in a trial that my life hangs on fails to meet even the basic standards of other people in his field and yet an agency that other people look to as a source of guidance (the government) is touting him as an expert. Does that clarify the problem a bit more? The difference, again, is between freely choosing and being forced into such a situation at the barrel of a gun.

  30. #30 |  Judi | 

    Dave, I think you nailed that one. After all, isn’t it OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE and FOR THE PEOPLE?

    WE being the PEOPLE of course…but then somewhere at some point someone kind of forgot about that.

    Bronwyn, it’s Mississippi. They are quite adept in keeping things of this sort out of national headlines.

  31. #31 |  Judi | 

    Has anyone noticed that Madison County where Levy was arrested conveniently abuts Hinds and Rankin County…HAYNES’ stomping grounds?

    Just sayin…

  32. #32 |  Saint Zero | 

    Madison is the snobby county of the three here in Central MS. Rankin is more red-neckish/middle class, and Hinds is Urban/Black. Madison is very much the Old Boys stomping grounds. He should have known that carrying that stuff would be pushing his luck.

  33. #33 |  Steamed McQueen | 

    Slightly off topic:

    Where are these mysterious packages of weed originating? FedEx, unlike other package delivery services is completely vertically integrated. From drop off to delivery, it never leaves their system.

    When the package is dropped off I believe it is FedEx policy to ID the sender. If the package is placed into a drop box with a prepaid FedEx account number, that is easily traceable to the sender.

    So who is sending these packages? Someone has to be dropping them off and that could mean that there is video somewhere of the dropoff.

    These packages aren’t just appearing on doorsteps. Someone had to pack, address and send them.


  34. #34 |  Ron | 

    Unless the prepaid fedex account number has ben stolen, which is not that hard to do. Had mine stolen once. Someone used my fedex account number to ship an express package to Taiwan to the tune of some $300.00 fedex tried to chage me for. After several phone calls to them explaining I knew nothing about that shipment or how my account number was used on that shipment, they stopped trying to bil me for the fraudulent shipment.

  35. #35 |  Ron | 

    Oh, and FEDEX does not “ID the sender”. If you have a package and the shippping label is filled out, you just drop it off and they barely look at you. Or you can even just leave it at the desk if no one is at the counter. There is also the trick of hiring someone to drop off packages. The mules have no idea what is in the packages or that the account numbers on the labels are stolen.

  36. #36 |  Judi | 

    I wanna know what prompted this ‘routine check’.

  37. #37 |  pam | 

    how can one state have so many “autopsy” troubles? Trouble, trouble, trouble always seems to find Mississippi and her autopsies. As they sing in the old spirituls, “Oh Lord, why me?”

  38. #38 |  Leonson | 

    While the police are certainly something to look at here, it might also be good to look at what cases he was going to be testifying in coming up.

    When both sides of the law are out to get you it could come from either.