Radley Balko’s piece at Reason on Dr. Hayne is up, here. I wish it had been written by someone I trusted more, because if half the stuff in there is true, this doctor is a menace. Here’s something that will get your attention:
People who have visited Hayne’s practice during an autopsy session have described seeing as many as 15 bodies opened at once, with Hayne and his assistants smoking cigars, sometimes even eating sandwiches, as they go from one body to the next.
Again, that’s a complete disaster . . . if true. And there’s much, much more.
Unfortunately, it’s hard for me to know what to believe and what not to believe. Balko opens his piece with the same story he told in his Wall Street Journal piece:
In a remarkable capital murder case earlier this year, the Mississippi Supreme Court, by an 8-to-1 vote, tossed out the expert testimony of Steven Hayne. The defendant was Tyler Edmonds, a 13-year-old boy accused of killing his sister’s husband. Hayne, Mississippi’s quasi-official state medical examiner, had testified that the victim’s bullet wounds supported the prosecution’s theory that Edmonds and his sister had shot the man together, each putting a hand on the weapon and pulling the trigger at the same time.
“I would favor that a second party be involved in that positioning of the weapon,” Hayne told the jury. “It would be consistent with two people involved. I can’t exclude one, but I think that would be less likely.”
Testifying that you can tell from an autopsy how many hands were on the gun that fired a bullet is like saying you can tell the color of a killer’s eyes from a series of stab wounds. It’s absurd. The Mississippi Supreme Court said Hayne’s testimony was “scientifically unfounded” and should not have been admitted. Based on this and other errors, it ordered a new trial for Edmonds.
As I detailed in this post, there is some critical context left out of the story.
Read all of Balko’s piece. But with more than a grain of salt. In fact, I’d keep the shaker handy.
But I’d say this certainly merits further investigation. If state officials don’t at least look into this medical examiner, there’s something really wrong going on in the state of Mississippi.