Corruption

Big News in Mississippi

|

Over the weekend, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood announced that 51-year-old Albert Johnson had been arrested for the brutal rape and murder of two three-year-old girls in the 1990s. Johnson had been an early suspect in both cases, but despite the fact that the state had samples of his DNA on file for more than a decade, it never bothered to test it against the DNA found in the little girls.

That's because Mississippi District Attorney Forrest Allgood decided early on in both cases that he had his man, and little could convince him otherwise. One of those men is Kennedy Brewer, a mentally handicapped man who served more than a decade on Mississippi's Death Row, then served another five years even after DNA evidence had cleared him. Allgood insisted on retrying Brewer anyway, arguing that bite marks on the little girl's body matched Brewer's teeth.

Curiously, Allgood resisted testing the DNA from the crime scene against that of a man he had earlier convicted of an eerily similar crime—another rape and murder of a young girl in the same area. It now seems clear why Allgood resisted the test. As it turns out, the man he'd convicted for that crime, Levon Brooks, is innocent, too. Brooks had been sentenced to life in prison.

Hood is expected to announce on Thursday that Brewer has been completely exonerated. A similar announcement for Brooks could also come Thursday, or perhaps a few days after.

Had Allgood not fixated on Brooks after the first murder, he may have been able to prevent the second. Instead, we have two little girls dead, one man wrongly incarcerated for nearly two decades, and another who came perilously close to execution. And of course, there's also the matter of a two-time child rapist and murderer running free for 15 years.

In both cases, District Attorney Allgood asked Dr. Steven Hayne to perform the autopsies on the little girls. Dr. Hayne then called in his longtime collaborator Dr. Michael West to perform "the West phenomenon," a bit of quackery using fluorescent lights and yellow goggles that West says enables him to see bite marks no one else can spot. West was Allgood's star witness in both cases. In fact, after the DNA test exonerating Brewer in 2001, West's testimony was all Allgood had left, and was the reason he insisted on keeping Brewer in prison until late last year. In the Brewer case, the defense called an actual, board-certified medical examiner, who testified that the marks weren't from human teeth at all, but bug bites due to the body's exposure in a woods.

The weekend's events put a big, fat exclamation point on the corrupt, good ol' boy forensics system in Mississippi I reported on in a feature for reason last November.

My article focused mainly on Hayne, but Allgood and West also made appearances. Dr. Lloyd White, one of Mississipppi's last two official state medical examiners, left his position in disgust after trying and failing to rein in Dr. Hayne and the state's prosecutors and coroners. This passage seems particularly relevant:

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.

White's replacement also resigned in disgust after butting heads with Hayne, West, and the state's coroners and prosecutors. The office has been vacant since the mid-1990s, giving Hayne and rogue prosecutors like Allgood free reign.

This also isn't the first time an Allgood death penalty case has been overturned. In 1990, he convicted an 18-year-old mentally handicapped woman of killing her infant son. She was acquitted and released from death row after being granted a new trial due to problems with (surprise!) the conclusions drawn by the medical examiner Allgood recruited to perform the autopsy on the boy.

Since my article (and accompanying op-eds in the Wall Street Journal and the Jackson Clarion-Ledger) ran, very little has changed. That's too bad, because my sources in Mississippi tell me all the appropriate people down there were made aware of it, several times over.

Defense attorneys are more keen to Hayne, now, and are filing briefs challenging his status as an expert witness. But thus far, they've found little sympathy from the state's courts. Hayne is still doing autopsies in Mississippi, and judges are still letting him testify. Last November, the new judge in Cory Maye's case dismissed a brief in which Maye's lawyers asked that they be allowed to question Hayne's credentials. He said the case needed "closure." In another case, the court refused to grant an indigent defendant the funding to hire his own expert witness to review Dr. Hayne's autopsy. In both cases, attorneys cited my reporting on Hayne. My reporting on Hayne was also brought to the attention of Mississippi's State Supreme Court in the January 2007 case appeal of Tyler Edmonds. That case represented the first time the court had ever tossed out Dr. Hayne's testimony. Allgood was the prosecutor in that case, too.

So Mississippi's courts, lawmakers, and executive agencies are all well aware of the problem. They simply aren't interested in doing anything about it.

Attorney General Hood is doing the right thing in exonerating Brewer and (likely) Brooks. But it shouldn't stop there. It's time for Mississippi to conduct a thorough review of every case in which Dr. Hayne or Dr. West has ever testified. In fact, there are other medical examiners in the state whose work has been called into question, too. It wouldn't be the first time this has happened. Similar reviews have been conducted in West Virginia, Houston, and Oklahoma City after deficiencies and fraud in crime labs were exposed.

It's probably also time to start looking at possible criminal civil rights violations by Hayne, West, and Allgood. The state's entire medical examiner system is in need of a major overhaul. But right now, it's more important to undo the damage already done, and free the people Hayne and West may have already wrongfully sent to prison.

Advertisement

NEXT: 9/11 Terror Suspects from Gitmo Likely to Face Military Tribunal

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.

  1. Radley, you kick ass.

    Can we start forcing your posts into the local newspapers all throughout the south? Let those corrupt bastards know somebody is keeping tabs on them.

  2. Radley,

    This post just convinced me I’m well-past due ordering one of those Agitator shirts/mugs.

    Excellent work as always.

  3. side note: It’s ‘rein in’ (like with a horse), not ‘reign in.’

    (Sorry, that’s just one of the little things that really bugs me for some reason)

  4. I’m in utter disbelief and this really angers up my blood. As a libertarian, I don’t know what to do: foment active and armed rebellion or (gulp) advocate calling in the Feds.

    Either way, I really don’t see much happening too soon, although I will try as hard as I can to get this in front of as many eyes as possible.

    Radley, please keep it up (even if it gives me an ulcer).

    I’m not a religious man, but I truly hope Hell exists for people like West, Hayne and Allgood.

    I’m never stepping foot in Mississippi.

  5. On a scale of 1-10, this is horrifying, but the entire justice system, civil and criminal, is infected with the cancer and it isn’t curable.

    Still, even as I continually lower my expectations, I am continually surprised and shocked as we play judicial limbo to see how low we can really go.

  6. “I truly hope Hell exists for people like West, Hayne and Allgood.

    I’m never stepping foot in Mississippi.”

    Mississippi = Hell. They’re already there and apparently running the show.

  7. Not that I am a fan of lawsuits, but a big fat wrongful imprisonment lawsuit ought to help. Or is that squeezing blood from a turnip?

  8. Not that I am a fan of lawsuits, but a big fat wrongful imprisonment lawsuit ought to help.

    First you have to get around sovereign immunity, which is very tough. The best way around it is probably a civil rights claim. Tagging the individuals involved requires getting over yet another hurdle, the precise requirements of which I can’t dredge up OTTOMH.

  9. In the 1960s it was killing civil rights workers, and now, 40 years later, it’s railroading the defenseless into prison with trumped up evidence by the new generation of “good ole boys.”

    The victims, and their families, of the crimes these innocent people have been convicted of, while the real perpetrators have remained free, have to be sickened by this.

    Or maybe any body in jail is good enough for them, too.

  10. I said this in another of Radley’s threads but it bears repeating: I am continuously stunned by the depraved indifference of police and prosecutors towards utterly destroying people’s lives. They just don’t fucking care. It’s chilling.

  11. I honestly can’t see how a person can read a story like this, or the Boston police story of this morning, and remain comitteed to the death penalty as a good form of justice. But most people do, so obviously I am out of the mainstream. The also too-popular obsession with using the death penalty even against the mentally handicapped strikes me, though, as nothing short of immoral. I still remember when candidate Bill Clinton paused his campaign to go back to Arkansas to sign a death warrant for a mentally retarded man. The Supreme Court agrees with it. I just don’t get it.

  12. The law won’t take care of these clowns. They need a gold old fashioned ass beating.

  13. thedifferentphil,
    it’s sheer ignorance. hardly anyone can read radley balko’s well-researched reports and come away feeling the death penalty is sensible within the current justice system or that there are numerous injustices perpetrated by some of those who are supposed to uphold the law.

    these guys are *still* doing autopsies, like, they’re probably performing some frame-up hatchet-job right now as we speak? that is an unholy travesty. i would raise bloody hell if i was a family member of a deceased person and these crooks even touched the body.

    i nominate balko for a pulitzer. he should be syndicated in newspapers across the country.

  14. oops: “..or that there AREN’T numerous injustices perpetrated…”

  15. I am continuously stunned by the depraved indifference of police and prosecutors towards utterly destroying people’s lives. They just don’t fucking care. It’s chilling.

    What frosts my nads, is how many other people don’t fucking care either. How is it that this horror show has been allowed to go on?

  16. True justice will come when the officials finally get it right, and put these guys where the innocent guys “were”. Justice was so blatantly “denied”. Ever heard of a thumping gizzard????

  17. If it didn’t happen on the TV news, it didn’t happen.

    Balko, have you considered trying to get 60 mins or Dateline to follow up on this. Maybe even an episode of Bullshit on the bite marks quackery?

    When scandal breaks on the networks, that’s when officeholders tend to notice.

    op-eds in the Journal don’t cut it. At this point a youtube video would have more impact than that.

  18. How is it that this horror show has been allowed to go on?

    I’d like to know why it seems that only Reason magazine is bothering to report on it. Does Britney Spears have to get railroaded before any national media will pay attention?

    -jcr

  19. Nick,
    Touche.

    thedifferentphil,
    I literally changed my mind on the Death Penalty today.

    I always thought it wasn’t used properly, but was still necessary.

    That being said, if some guy comes after me, my wife, my family, my friends or my dog, he’s dead (especially my dog).

  20. I’ve been opposed to the death penalty not because I mind killing sick fucks who have committed murder in heinous ways, but because I always thought life in prison was a worse punishment. I’d rather be killed quickly than spend the rest of my life in pound-me-in-the- ass prison. So, I say keep the bastards alive and then if you find out they were innocent, they can be let out and justly compensated. If not, they suffer in prison for the rest of their miserable lives. Everybody wins.

    On a positive note, you might have more people kill their attackers, if they are the pro-death penalty variety and then we avoid the costly trial. Yippee!

  21. What frosts my nads, is how many other people don’t fucking care either. How is it that this horror show has been allowed to go on?

    I suspect they chalk it up under Acceptable Losses. And they also rationalize by saying “Well, they were probably criminals anyhow. Why else would they have been suspected by the police?”

    Bastards.

  22. Is it true that the Clintons are jealous of politics and justice in Mississippi?

  23. i nominate balko for a pulitzer. he should be syndicated in newspapers across the country.

    I second that (with proper capitalization, of course). 😉

  24. It is very expensive to defend yourself in this country.The Duke case is but one example.In many places a DUI will cost between 5000 and 7500 to fight.If your a average wage earner,say around 50,000$ and have 2 beers and are pulled over you may need to use 10 to 15 %of your income to exonerate yourself.Now,imagine that same person charged with a capital or drug offense.Justice is beyond the reach of many.

  25. Forgive my ignorance since I’m not from the US, but how come these fucktards doesn’t get fired? If you fuck up that bad in such a big case, your superiors got to take notice, right?

  26. Fitzroy,

    Politicians want stuff like this to go away. It undermines trust in the “justice” system, and a lot of people have to be retried which costs a lot of money they could be using to buy votes instead. Plus, politicians like to kiss up to the cops and are probably friends with the prosecutor. They all work for the same employer, remember.

  27. Fitzroy,you get fired IF you run up against a person who has the resources to fight during the trial.After a conviction is it very tough to get a review of bad prosecutors.

  28. Politics, religion, business, racism and the justice sytem in Mississippi are hopelessly intertwined. It is essentially lynching with the legal system’s justification. If you live there and get caught up in something, the most effective way to fight it is to get bigger dirt on your adversary. It is a very dangerous thing.

  29. “””Is it true that the Clintons are jealous of politics and justice in Mississippi?”””

    If they were, they would move back to Arkansas. Clinton, as governor, had an award wining ME too. Fahmy Malack. This guy concluded that two kids fell asleep from smoking too much pot while laying on some train tracks. He failed to notice the gunshots to the head.

  30. US Attorney? FBI persons?

    Time to do that magic “fed” stuff.
    This corrupt “law enforcement” system is much worse than Martha Stewart. It makes you guys look bad too. Bad “cops” always reflect on the others.

  31. Can’t the defense demand a DNA test? Aren’t there some disclosure rules? What am I missing here?

  32. It’s time for Mississippi to conduct a thorough review of every case in which Dr. Hayne or Dr. West has ever testified.

    And we’re wondering why they may be reluctant to do something about it?

  33. Bad “cops” always reflect on the others.

    Largely because the others do so little about them.

  34. Looks like you’ve done some good work, Balko. Too bad your zeal is only directed at state functionaries and not also at rogue journalists like your buddy Jamie Kirchick.

  35. There is a very simple solution. Go tell 60 Minutes that the issue is Haley Barbour’s fault, and is there because he is a Republican governor, and former RNC chair, with a law & order philosophy. Then tell them that he is a candidate for VP.

    As soon as they absorb that, they will be there with camera’s whirring.

  36. I rarely advocate lawsuits but I hope those innocent people sue the pants off Forrest Allgood. Allgood deserves to get Nifonged.

  37. Just out of curiosity, has anyone done a “Name That Party” on the ME’s or Prosecutors?

  38. “””Too bad your zeal is only directed at state functionaries and not also at rogue journalists like your buddy Jamie Kirchick.”””

    I’ve never had a journalist threaten to arrest me.

  39. A little off topic but what the heck. Last week I read an article in the USA Today about some states allowing dna hits on unsolved crimes to be used at parole hearings to deny parole for inmates.

  40. “I’ve never had a journalist threaten to arrest me.”

    No, the damage caused by bad journalism is more indirect. The one candidate most likely to fight corrupt prosecutorial and police action was swiftboated by Kirchick and Balko.

    Take a bow, Radley. Now there will be plenty more abuses of state power for you to report on.

  41. Time to cite the essential quote from Catch 22: “They can do anything to you that you can’t stop them from doing.”

  42. @ The Wine Commonsewer:

    “On a scale of 1-10, this is horrifying”

    That might be the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen.

  43. I’m taking up a collection to buy Joe Allen fuel for his spaceship. We’re gonna get you home, lil’ buddy!

  44. Fabulous work, Radley. Do keep it up, no matter how depressing or infuriating it gets.

  45. It is legitimate to question Balko’s credibility at fighting police corruption when he is a willing participant in journalistic corruption.

    Radley reminds me of the character 1984, the leader of the resistance with the Jewish name that was actually a tool of the state. Anyone remember the name?

  46. Joe Allen,

    Get over it! This obsessing is not healthy. Reason didn’t derail a Ron Paul campaign that wasn’t going anywhere. I supported him with money and my vote knowing a sno-cone in hell had a better chance. The newsletters showed irresponsibilty at best.

    Time to move on. Maybe we’ll get some attention at the convention, but the nomination was never really possible.

  47. “Goldstein, Emmanuel – The supreme enemy of the state. He was once a high-ranking member of the party, until he supposedly betrayed the party and begin engaging in revolutionary activities. He is the supposed head of the “resistance”. Goldstein is to Ingsoc what Satan is to Christianity… The embodiment of pure evil.”

    Goldstein was so useful to the totalitarian state, that he may have been fabricated entirely, Orwell doesn’t say.

    And no, I won’t get over it. Radley Balko demostrated lack of professionalism at best and possible willful deception by his participation in a smear campaingn against a libertarian.

    Even CATO now admits the TNR calumny was a “hitpiece.” A rougue D.A. using a corrupt ME to give his bogus case false credibility is not morally different than a rogue mainstream journalist using a corrupt libertarian jornalist to give his case false credibility.

  48. “Big news in Mississippi” would be if they actually did something about it.

    This is just routine.

  49. A rougue D.A. using a corrupt ME to give his bogus case false credibility is not morally different than a rogue mainstream journalist using a corrupt libertarian jornalist to give his case false credibility.

    Is it morally different from accusing people of being “corrupt” without any actual evidence?

  50. Joe Allen,

    Libeling me as a “corrupt journalist” is a good way to lose your posting privileges.

  51. has anyone done a “Name That Party” on the ME’s or Prosecutors?

    The hanging unansweredness of your question is the answer to your question.

    And so was the question.

  52. Incisive, thorough, and laden with truth.

    Thank you for bringing the disinfectant sunlight to the dark, corrupt corners of America’s justice system.

  53. radley is hands-down the best web-based journalist in the country, and definitely deserves wider recognition (as do these travesties of justice he reports on). that said, why does he hate america? 😉

  54. Excellent work as always, Mr. Balko. Let us hope it helps to foment change in Mississippi.

  55. I support a boy who was convicted and given a life sentence at 15. Dr. Hayne was the only expert called at his trial. He testified he knew what “defensive” wounds looked like and even though the boy claimed he was being attacked by the much bigger, mentally ill family member, he knew the wounds on the deceased were defensive, and gave his opinion to the jury as if he were there. Couldn’t you get wounds on your hands being the aggressor also? It seems like quackery to me. And the thing he should have done which was to perserve and test brain tissue for alzheimers and dementia, he didn’t do even though family members said he had been diagnosed with mental illness and had been violent toward other family members, and the boy was saying he was being attacked and choked to death by a man who was much bigger and stronger than the 14 year old. The prosecutor was Geddies, but he also turned a self defense case into a capital murder case and got a conviction. The boy had no friendly face during interrogation and didn’t for weeks. He was denied visits by his parents for weeks and the sheriff tried to tape conversations with his lawyer once he was given access to his client days later. The ill begotten confession was used in court along with redacted information slipped to the jury “accidentally” and no mistrial called. It was a mess. A kangaroo court. And a 15 year old gifted, non-violent, boy with no prior record spends the rest of his life locked up.When meeting with a lawyer and investigator down in Mississippi land regarding this case I was told when I asked in disbelief how this all happened, they laughed and said “It’s Mississippi” and looked at each other shaking their heads satisfied that I knew what they meant. Sadly,I did..

  56. “On a scale of 1-10, this is horrifying”

    That might be the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen.

    You, obviously don’t get out much.

  57. side note: It’s ‘rein in’ (like as with a horse), not ‘reign in.’

    (Sorry, that’s just one of the little things that really bugs me for some reason)

  58. I was looking in vain for the offensive Joe Allen comment and have concluded that it must have been deleted.

  59. I’d be interested in speculation, perhaps informed speculation, for the motivations of these men. Are there any patterns in the people they apparently choose to railroad? Racial, or anything. Perhaps they are just plain evil.

  60. My favorite solution to prevent this kind of serial injustice – put the prosecutor, cops and supporting stooges at risk for the exact same penalty as the defendant. Not just disbarment or loss of medical license baby – your ass will fry if you dishonestly put someone onto death row.

  61. the boy in my post was white, but poor. I don’t think as a speculator that there is a pattern other than they just want to win. They go for the easiest win they can get and don’t care about finding the truth, which is what they are supposed to do. Poor and undereducated seems to be the pattern.

  62. Patterico must be really upset over this.

  63. Pam, where is this kid now? What’s his name? Where is he from? Keep an eye on the Edmonds’ case. It’s going to be continued indefinitely and eventually charges dropped or something like that. The bad guys are all getting knocked down a notch or two…at least enough to back off. The case you are referring to, given the kids’ age needs to be investigated first in the long line of Hayne cases to come. Have you contacted MS Innocence Project or any other Innocence Project? They said they will be taking Hayne cases. I’d like to write to this kid if I can. He needs some hope.

  64. Patterico seems like a real tool.

  65. That Patterico article was hilarious, as was his banning of people who didn’t agree with his thesis that Radley’s reasons for writing the WSJ op-ed were somehow sinister.

  66. The next exhonoration should be that of Tyler Edmonds! Hayne, West and Forrest Allgood need to be run out of Mississippi and brought up on charges! They are the real criminals.

    I emailed the Attorney General and the Lueitenant Governor of Mississippi Radly not long after your last column in November demanding that this be looked into! I even asked a Mississippi reporter about it who inturn stated she had covered this as well only for it to fall on deaf ears. I never got any response from the Government.

    Mississippi has these three idiots working for the private prisons to keep the convayer belt full of innocent people to fill cells and line wallets. This isn’t justice, this is greed and out right shameful! I agree with Matt, this needs to get wide spread coverage to get these racketeers out of office and on that covayer belt into their own prison cells. What they have been allowed to do is in itself criminal. Mississippi wake up, get a back bone and run the real criminals out of town.

    http://www.justiceforjuveniles.org

  67. Radley–Please stop forcing thoughts of violent and bloody viglilante revenge into my head.

    I consider myself a fairly peaceful person, but these twisted and sinister fucks make me want to take up arms.

  68. Radley, not that I think you’ve done anything wrong in this case, but why not ask the WSJ’s ombudsman for an opinion (if the WSJ has an ombudsman, that is).

    If he agrees with Patterico, print an addendum. If he agrees with you, rub it in Patterico’s face.

  69. JW, what you said is how I feel right now.

  70. I think Dan T has some good advice for anyone living in Mississippi.

    MOVE!!!!!

    “”””That Patterico article was hilarious, as was his banning of people who didn’t agree with his thesis that Radley’s reasons for writing the WSJ op-ed were somehow sinister.””””

    It was lame too. A lot of self projecting onto Radley’s motives. Patterico seems ingorant, willfully or not, of Radley articles that go far beyond the scope of Mississippi.

  71. Every person who reads this article needs to contact his or her legislator immediately to protest what is happening in Mississippi. The fact that the higher-ups are fully aware of Dr. Hayne’s practices yet have not done much about it is unbelievable. Forrest Allgood and Stephen Hayne are a lethal combination when it comes to trying and sentencing people. The Prosecutor is supposed to be an instrument of the people for the people to seek justice. The obvious abuse of his office has enabled Allgood to a free-for-all in the courtroom and judges aren’t presiding. It’s all about the win. Mr. Allgood’s ego is way out of control and so is Dr. Hayne’s. Two boys were given lengthy prison sentences because of Hayne. One is Tyler Edmonds who will have a re-trial at the end of the month. The other is Brett Jones who was convicted 3 years ago for the murder of his grandfather. Hayne testified in that one, too. In Brett’s case, he simply defended himself. Unfortunately Dr. Hayne’s testimony sealed his fate and he is doing life in prison without parole. When is this going to end?

  72. Dr. Hayne’s conduct deserves investigating. Any part he played in the conviction of Tyler Edmonds and Brett Jones should be reviewed and investigated. Any wrongdoing on his part and the others mentioned in this report should be reviewed and result in consideration for time served and released. These two boys deserve a chance for a life and Life Without Parole is not one of them.

  73. Serious, to answer your questions. He is in Walnut Grove Maximum Juvenile Prison, MS. His name is Brett Jones. He’s from Tupelo. He had just turned 15 when charged with murder, just finished 8th grade. Had no friendly face, parent or attorney for at least 2 weeks. The Youth Court Act was clearly violated, as it was with Tyler Edmonds, but so far the courts have refused to rule on that. Brett saw no adult for weeks, even though his Mom was trying to get in to see him. I will alert the IP to Brett’s case and Hayne’s “questionable” testimony. A year and a half ago, I took it upon myself to hire him a PCR attorney. We are waiting. For more visit http://www.myspace.com/savebrettjones. In his case prosecutor Daniels and Geddies along with the police, turned a self defense case into murder and used every trick in the book to win. Hopefully, they were so overzealous that it will help this boy get justice.

  74. If you’ve read this and still support the death penalty, you’re nucking futs.

  75. I will echo a few other posts. I will do my damnest to stay the hell out of Mississippi.

  76. With many new announcement about the wizard of oz movies in the news, you might want to consider starting to obtain Wizard of Oz book series either as collectible or investment at RareOzBooks.com.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.