On Monday, I noted that in response to some heat he’s taken over the Leigh Stubbs case, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood told a local TV station that his office is looking into 20 cases involving disgraced forensic specialist Michael West.
That was encouraging. But it also seemed strange, given that Hood’s office has consistently defended convictions won on West’s testimony, including in the Stubbs case. It also doesn’t jibe with Hood’s steadfast defense of Steven Hayne over the last few years (whom Hood often used when he was a DA). So yesterday I emailed Hood’s press office a request to speak with whoever is overseeing the West investigation. Or at least for a list of the cases they’re looking into. Or really for any additional information on the investigation.
Here was their reply:
We cannot release any of the information you are requesting at this time.
Hood hasn’t been particularly shy in the past about seeking publicity in the past, including putting out press releases about active criminal investigations. These West cases are at minimum several years old, and I’m pretty sure all of them are in post-conviction. If he is indeed looking into some of them them, I’m not sure what advantage there is to being secretive about it. Particularly if he’s going to announce the existence of the alleged investigation to a TV station in the first place.
I’ll have more on this in a follow-up piece for Huffington Post.