Some Movement in Mississippi

Mississippi State Rep. Bob Evans—also Cory Maye's chief counsel—introduced an amendment to an appropriations bill this week that would cut off all funding to the state medical examiner's office until the Department of Public Safety hires a board-certified state examiner.

The amendment was approved, and now moves into a conference committee to reconcile it with the state senate version of the same bill. The amendment would have to survive the conference committee to become law, but if it did, it would put a dent in the 1,500 or so autopsies done each year in the state by Dr. Steven Hayne. If the state were to hire a competent person with the wherewithal to clean things up down there, it could put Hayne out of business entirely.

"State law requires that we have a board-certified medical examiner and, unfortunately, we haven't had one for more than 10 years," Evans said Wednesday. "This gets specifically into my practicing of law - that's why I was on it today and why I will continue to beat that drum."

[...]

Evans said he has also dealt with Hayne in his own trials before.

"I was involved in a case where a body was skeletonized - I mean that's all that was left from the waist up was bone - and Hayne testified in court that the person had died as a result of strangulation," Evans recounted. "I've had forensic pathologists - board certified pathologists - tell me that was ridiculous. The case ended in acquittal."

Evans said instances such as these were the reasons why he, along with Rep. Brandon Jones, D-Pascagoula, sought to amend the bill to require the state medical examiner's office to hire a board-certified examiner. Evans said that if the state were going to fund the office, then a full-time examiner should be in place and that examiner should be in full compliance with state law.

"Since we do have the office and we're funding it, we ought to use it," Evans said. "We should not be having to depend on someone like Dr. Hayne, who is not board-certified, doing these autopsies on which people's freedom - and sometimes their lives - depend."

Meanwhile, despite all that's come out over the last several months, Hayne is still doing the bulk of the state's autopsies.

My October 2007 reason feature on Hayne here.

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  • ||

    "I was involved in a case where a body was skeletonized - I mean that's all that was left from the waist up was bone - and Hayne testified in court that the person had died as a result of strangulation," Evans recounted.

    Clearly he simply measured the concentration patterns of midichlorians in the neck vertebrae and applied phrenology to the results. Hayne is on the cutting edge!

    What an asshole.

  • Bingo||

    Clearly he simply measured the concentration patterns of midichlorians in the neck vertebrae and applied phrenology to the results.



    You forgot the dark room with enhancing colored mood lighting and pumping soundtrack. /CSI

  • ||

    enhance... enhance... enhance...

  • ||

    I'm skeptical. They could add an amendment to that amendment that would grandfather Hayne since he's provided years of service to MS. Wouldn't suprise me one bit. Quality of service is often not an issue for government.

  • ||

    Admitting there is a problem is the first step. Even in Mississippi.
    When the Parchman Prison has a number of inmates doing time based on Dr. Hayne evidence and testimony, then quality of service becomes a HUGE issue.

  • ||

    Come to think about it, it's the smartest thing the state could do. Removing him via that legislation would not subject the state to lawsuits. Unlike if a judged ruled his tenure as unlawful.

    It would prevent others from getting screwed, which is good. But it doesn't do anything for those already screwed.

  • ||

    """When the Parchman Prison has a number of inmates doing time based on Dr. Hayne evidence and testimony, then quality of service becomes a HUGE issue."""

    The state of MS has had no quality issues with Dr. Hayne's work. If they did he would have been gone already. That's government for ya, failing to see what everyone else can.

  • ||

    Mississippi is one of the few states I've never managed to visit* and the more I read Balko's posts the more I think it will stay one of the few states I haven't visited.

    * Granted, some of those "visits" were pretty superficial -- my entire time in Iowa consisted of literally 10 miles on I-29 and three miles on highway 2.

  • ||

    Lincoln to Kansas City route eh?

  • ||

    Lincoln to Kansas City route eh?

    Yep, going the other direction though. Since I didn't actually get out of the car and touch the ground I'm not sure if I can count having been to Iowa or not... :)

  • Mad Max||

    BC,

    Thank God none of the other states in the Union have these sorts of problems.

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