Last week, Steven Hayne testified for the defense in a Mississippi murder trial. If you’ll remember, now that he’s no longer permitted to do official state autopsies for prosecutors, Hayne has been shopping his services to the defense bar. This particular case was in Lowndes County, served by District Attorney Forrest Allgood, a third of the longtime Hayne/West/Allgood triumverate of injustice.
The defendant in this case was acquitted, thanks in large part to Hayne’s testimony. Nut graph:
The defense’s case was strengthened by the testimony of forensic pathologist Dr. Steven Hayne, who concluded, based on the original autopsy report and Sharp’s testimony, that the first bullets fired hit Cole in the front of his body, while the two entrance wounds to his back were among the last to occur….
During rebuttal, prosecutor Rhonda Hayes-Ellis recalled forensic pathologist, Dr. Adele Lewis, who performed the autopsy on Cole’s body. Lewis said Wednesday that there was no way to determine which shot was fired first because of the multiple variables involved — the position of the person shooting the gun and how the gun was angled.
Lewis stuck to that finding Friday.
“There’s an infinite number of scenarios in which you can pose the shooter,” Lewis said. “An honest and competent pathologist would not be able to tell you which order the shots were fired and the position of the person. It’s not scientifically possible.”
It’ll be interesting to see how much tolerance Mississippi judges, coroners, and prosecutors have for Hayne now that he’s working against them.
I’m also interested in what defense attorneys think about this. Is it ethical to use Hayne if you know he’s a fraud and an opinion for hire, even though Mississippi courts are still willing to certify him as an expert witness?