A Can of Worms in Mississippi

Posted on March 20, 2014

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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