A Can of Worms in Mississippi

Posted on March 20, 2014


Justice for Willie Manning

Radley Balko, writing last month in the Washington Post, describes how the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit recently turned down a request for post-conviction relief by a man convicted of murder in Mississippi. Tavares Flaggs was convicted largely on the basis of the autopsy testimony of a private medical examiner, Steven Hayne. Hayne dominated the Mississippi autopsy business for well over a decade. It was Hayne that performed the autopsies and testified about them in both of Willie’s cases.

Balko refers to the Mississippi Innocence Project’s revelations about Hayne’s incompetency, which includes: commenting about a dead man’s spleen, though the spleen had actually been removed four years before death; noting the weight of a deceased child’s two kidneys when one of them had previously been removed; and reporting on a decedent’s ovaries and uterus although the victim was male.

Hayne was unqualified (he lied in court about…

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Posted in: Crime