Mississippi AG Jim Hood: Forrest Allgood a "Straight Arrow"

Mississippi District Attorney Forrest Allgood has come under fire since two men he prosecuted for murder were exonerated last month. Allgood kept Kennedy Brewer in prison an extra six years after DNA testing cleared him, because he clung to the testimony of bite mark fraud Dr. Michael West.

Nevertheless, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood recently defended Allgood in the Columbus Commercial Dispatch.

“Forrest Allgood has been a straight arrow. He's always played it by the rules,” Hood said. “I don't think there was any prosecutorial misconduct on his part.”

He said any jury would have rendered a guilty verdict based on the circumstantial evidence and witness testimony Allgood believed to be true when he prosecuted the two defendants. “There was no rush to judgment,” Allgood said. “It was done as best as it could be.”

"Straight arrow?" The guy has now convicted three people of murder who were later exonerated or acquitted. In the case of Kennedy Brewer, whom Allgood prosecuted for raping and killing his girlfriend's daughter while babysitting her, Allgood defended his pursuit of the wrong man to ABC News by noting there was no sign of forced entry into the home, and that there "cobwebs" on the window to the little girl's room. Actually, the window had a gaping hole in it. Allgood next told ABC News that Brewer became a suspect because he showed little interest in the girl's disappearance. Actually, as ABC News notes, Brewer joined family and neighbors in a frantic search for the girl.

So not only has Allgood not been a "straight arrow," he's still not telling the truth.

In my article on Dr. Steven Hayne last fall, I noted that when Dr. Lloyd White left his contentious tenure as Mississippi's second-to-last medical examiner, he wrote a letter to a local newspaper laying out his frustrations with Hayne and the state's coroners and district attorneys. That letter contained an interesting passage about Allgood:

White also cited a case in which he had performed an autopsy on a woman who’d been found dead in her bathtub. White concluded it wasn’t immediately possible to determine a cause of death; he needed to wait for the results of toxicology and microscopic tests. According to White’s letter, he soon received a phone call from Hayne, who told him the body had been taken to Hayne’s office for a second examination at the request of Forrest Allgood, the district attorney for Clay, Lowndes, Noxubee, and Oktibbeha counties. Although White was the state medical examiner at the time, he said the second autopsy was performed “surreptitiously, without my knowledge or permission.”

Allgood already had a suspect he wanted to charge with the crime, White said, and “he was afraid my autopsy wouldn’t provide him with the evidence he needed.” (Allgood’s office did not respond to requests for an interview.) According to White, Hayne told him he had concluded that the woman was strangled. White said Hayne then suggested it would be in White’s “best interest” to issue a report agreeing with him.

It would be bad enough if Allgood had gotten a second opinion because he didn't like the state medical examiner's conclusions. But it wasn't even that. It was that he didn't want to wait for the tests to come back, in case they proved him wrong.

Attorney General Hood has conceded that he himself used shady medical examiner Dr. Steven Hayne back when he was a district attorney in Mississippi's third district. That means any investigation of Hayne may include looking into Hood's convictions, and may call into question Hood's own judgment in using Hayne.

Which means that not only should we we take Hood's defenses of Hayne, Allgood, and Mississippi's forensics systems with a handful of salt, it means that any honest look into Mississippi's forensics problems will have to come from outside of the attorney general's office.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Dave W.||

    In other prosecutor misconduct news, WXIA out of Atlanta reports:

    "Johnston was gunned down by Atlanta Police narcotics officers during the of her Northwest Atlanta home. Junnier and Smith both admitted using a falsified no-knock search warrant to justify the raid, planting marijuana in her basement after the shooting and then trying to persuade an informant to lie about buying drugs in the home."

    This is the first time I have seen a major media report confirm that drugs were planted after the shooting.

  • Episiarch||

    This is the first time I have seen a major media report confirm that drugs were planted after the shooting.

    Maybe because it's usually assumed as a given?

    Just kidding. Wait, no I'm not.

  • Taktix®||

    In my article on Dr. Steven Hayne last fall...

    So is he the evil twin brother of Dr. Steven Crane?

  • ||

    Man, I'm tired of being outraged.

  • Franz Kafka||

    Man, I'm tired of being outraged.

    Leopards break into the temple and drink to the dregs what is in the sacrificial pitchers; this is repeated over and over again; finally it can be calculated in advance, and it becomes a part of the ceremony.

  • ||

    So, where exactly is the DOJ on this systematic violation of civil rights? Why isn't there a federal grand jury looking into this and considering charges against all involved (now including the Mississippi AG)?

  • ||

    So, where exactly is the DOJ on this systematic violation of civil rights? Why isn't there a federal grand jury looking into this and considering charges against all involved (now including the Mississippi AG)?

    Don't you think the George W. Bush justice department might have more important things to do? Illegal wiretapping, partisan prosecutions and torture justification can take up a lot of time and resources.

    Priorities, my good man. Priorities.

  • Someone Who Doesn\'t Want to L||

    Allgood is a straight shooter, huh? A square gee?

  • Verna Bernbaum||

    Yeah, sneer at him like everyone else. Just because he's different. People think he's a degenerate. People think he's scum. Well he's not.

  • Episiarch||

    You're a fickle boy, Mink. The Dane finds out you got another "amigo," well, I don't peg him as the understanding type.

  • Mink Larouie||

    Find out!? How would he find out?! Damnit Tom, me and you ain't even been talking! Jesus Tom, damnit, Jesus!

  • Someone Who Doesn\'t Want to L||

    While we're on the topic, that may be the best goddamned movie ever made.

  • ||

    More reasons for Justice Department inaction -

    Barbour, Haley (R) - Governor.
    Cochran, Thad (R) - Senator
    Wicker, Roger (R) - Senator

  • Episiarch||

    While we're on the topic, that may be the best goddamned movie ever made.

    Plus it has a guest appearance by Sam Raimi.

  • ||

    I'll track down all you whores.

  • robc||

    Other reasons for (past) Justice Department inaction:

    Mabus, Ray (D) - Governor
    Fordice, Kirk (R) - Governor
    Musgrove, Ronnie (D) - Governor

  • ||

    "Forrest Allgood has been a straight arrow. He's always played it by the rules,"

    He should have a bus, the Straight Arrow Express. There are going to be more innocent people on death row, my friends.

  • pam||

    not to pile on but another set of evil prosecutors suited for a ride on the "straight shooter express", Geddies and Daniels. They enjoy presenting ill-begotten coerced and perjured testimony obtained in sneaky ways from children with the help of local sheriff investigators who have no concern for the truth. It's a little game they like to play amongst each other when no parents or lawyers are around.

  • ||

    Well the Justice Department has no issue with liars, unless it's a baseball player.

    Gonzales pretty much proved that when he held the top position. He had no problem BSing Congress under oath.

  • ||

    And the republicans in Congress had no problem being BSed by the top law enforcer. Why would they have a problem with a Corner in MS?

  • ||

    I'm not tired of being outraged, although I am feeling a little exhausted. Nope, not me, as Radley keeps blasting away at these liars, it will make it harder and harder for them to get away with it. And, I can't wait!

    Jim Hood is a crook. When very reasonable legislation was introduced so that an adult would have to be present when a juvenile is questioned by police, first the measure passed by an overwhelming majority. Then, the House voted on it again. Then, Jim Hood called all the Representatives and told them not to vote on it. Then, they voted again and miraculously all the Representatives had suddenly changed their mind despite further discussion of the meausure and it was then defeated by almost the exact same proportion of votes as has twice previously affirmed it.

    Go Radley Go!

    These people construct their own reality minute by minute.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement