Criminal Justice

President of Mississippi State Medical Association Denounces Dr. Hayne


I just spoke on the phone with Dr. Dwalia South, president of the Mississippi State Medical Association, the state branch of the AMA.

Coincidentally, Dr. South has been working on an editorial for the organization's newsletter raising questions about why the state medical examiner position in Mississippi has been vacant since 1995. In doing some research, she found my personal blog, contacted me, and we chatted this morning.

"I don't know why Dr. Hayne is still a member of our organization," she says. "I'm going to try to get him booted. I can't believe he is allowed to take the stand and use our organization's name to boost his credentials. That isn't right. I'm going to do what I can to change that. I'm going to do what I can make people care about this."

Dr. South has firsthand experience with Hayne and with Mississippi's broken forensics system. She was once the elected coroner for Tippah County, and one of the few county coroners who bucked Hayne's grip on the system. That might have something to do with the fact that unlike most of the state's coroners, she's an actual physician. The state requires only a high school diploma to run for coroner.

"We had all sorts of people in that office. Farmers, morticians, a really diverse group of people for that kind of office. The guy I replaced couldn't read or write. Can you believe that? An illiterate was in charge of this county's death investigations. He was letting the families of the deceased fill out the death certificates. Really unbelievable. When I heard that, I decided, well, I'm going to run. I did, and I won."

One of the reforms implemented by Dr. Lloyd White, who was a state medical examiner in Mississippi before Hayne and his allies drove him out, was that the coroners at least had to take continuing courses in death investigation. According to Dr. South, many of those classes are, perversely, taught by Dr. Hayne.

"He's actually a very good lecturer," she says. "At least when it comes to his style. Very charming. The coroners loved him. He really owned them."

But South wasn't in office long before she started to learn about Hayne's practices. "I was hearing some really horrible things about him," she says. "The more I learned, the more troubled I was. What he's doing is unethical and unprofessional. it's malpractice. If the truth was known about him, there would be an upheaval in our penitentiary system, because there are probably a lot of people he's helped put there who don't deserve to be there."

"I'm really blown out of the water by this," she says. "One of my goals when I became president was to shed some light on this. Mississippi doesn't need this. There's got to be something that we as a group of doctors can do to blow the whistle on this guy."

The Mississippi State Medical Association's next board meeting is in three weeks.

My reason feature on Dr. Hayne here.

NEXT: Friday Funnies

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  1. Thanks for the smile, Radley.
    Please keep up your noble efforts.

  2. Not bad. But I liked Jim Borgman’s better — at least the artwork.

  3. Goooooooooooal!

  4. I’m wondering, is there even a single reason reader in the state of Mississippi? This is great reporting, for the rest of us, but is it reaching the people of the state? And if it is, are they incensed too, or are they closing ranks around their own? I can all too easily imagine them being pissed at outsiders not mindin’ they own bidness.

  5. An illiterate was in charge of this county’s death investigations…

    I may be a sick SOB, but I LOL at that whole passage.

    [shakes head and says: only in America, er, ah Mississippi]

  6. Unless Mississippi has changed dramatically since I lived there in the early 80’s, I would expect to see Dr. South’s obit soon from a “drug related murder,” or a story that completely destroys her credibility based on eyewitness testimony of whores, addicts, pimps and jailhouse snitches.

  7. Oops. Wrong thread.

  8. Mississippi represents all that the worst about America. Not that other states are pristine or anything, but Mississippi really seems to take the cake when it comes to awfulness. Louisiana might have them beat on corruption, but thats it.

  9. please keep up the good work, mr. balko.

  10. Mr Balko, you are the best. Your tenacity in the face of injustice is THE best examples of libertarian activism on the internet. Thanks for all you work and your articles. I’m really inspired.

    P.S. “juris imprudent”, all that matters is that the “right” people are reading the message. Dr South was able to learn the truth, I think we’ll hear of others.

  11. OK, I take back my “Radley is a sadist” remark from earlier…for now.

  12. “I am aware that many object to the severity of my language; but is there not cause for severity? I will be as harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject, I do not wish to think, or to speak, or write, with moderation. … I am in earnest – I will not equivocate – I will not excuse – I will not retreat a single inch – AND I WILL BE HEARD” — William Lloyd Garrison

    If no one minds, I’ll do a mild flop-flop on my newly flip-flopped stance on the Death Penalty. I’m still against it (remember, only as of a few days ago), but these clowns deserve death by hanging after a week in the pillory.

  13. God, I could be a politician… I can hear myself now:

    “I was for it, before I was against it. And now I am for it in certain instances.”

    Great, I’ve just made myself sick to my stomach.

  14. Kool — No worries. I’ve been thinking a lot about this Dr. Hayne thing, and I came to a similar conclusion. Intellectually, I didn’t see how, in a democratic system people could ever justify anything other than non-violent social change. I never understood how people said they were for Dr. King AND Malcolm X. But the complete failure of the system to completely crush and destroy someone like Hayne is probably the clearest cut current example I can think of how non-violence may be an incomplete answer.

  15. Is there any way of setting streaming audio of “Duelling Banjos” whenever you post on Dr. Hayne?

  16. Keep up the good work, Radley. Just try to keep the “the world is going to shit” stories away from Monday morning.

  17. Schweet!!!

    Go Radley, Go Radley…

  18. You’re an inspiration, Radley. When Hayne gets thrown out of power once and for all, you will be largely responsible. I’m proud to subscribe to a magazine that does so much to protect the innocent.

  19. hm.. too good to be true? hope not. thanks again balko

  20. I reluctantly post this, but I am a daily reason reader from the state of Mississippi. I live in the northwest corner of the state (near the TN border, close to Memphis) so I’m geographically removed from much of what Radley has been reporting. These reports, however, have been anything but surprising. The good ol boy network that exists in the state is incredibly pervasive. Unfortunately I am part of a very small minority that acknowledges this. Trying to change the mentality here is almost impossible. Keep up the good work, Radley. The more attention stories like this receive the better.

  21. mark, I used to live in Pascagouls. I extend my sympathies.

  22. If you want to see what us Mississippians think about all this, check out this newsforum from my hometown of Columbus, MS (approximately 30 miles from the crime scene of Brooksville, MS)

  23. I am/was/am a Mississippi Reason reader. I moved up north for my own reasons, but I still love MS and think of visits as “coming home.”

    As embarrassing as this situation is, it makes me proud and grateful that Radley has taken the interest in Mississippi affairs that he has. We need him. Buy you a summer home in Oxford, Radley.

  24. The state requires only a high school diploma to run for coroner.

    “We had all sorts of people in that office. Farmers, morticians, a really diverse group of people for that kind of office. The guy I replaced couldn’t read or write.”

    I am a proud son of the south, but even I must admit that Mississippi isn’t doing much to assuage that whole “the south is full of unbelievably stupid hicks” stereotype I’ve encountered so often in my life.

    Radley, your work regarding Dr. Hayne has been and continues to be outstanding.

  25. Buy you a summer home in Oxford, Radley.

    He’d probably be assassinated.

  26. I forwarded the Reason article to a few attornies in Mississippi, they thanked me, I’m sure it’s getting around. Unbelievably, Dr. Hayne’s reach doesn’t stop at innocent adults, but even more shameful, it encompasses innocent children also. Two kids aged 13 & 15 (Tyler Edmonds & Brett Jones) were convicted at least partially on Dr. Haynes quackery and got life sentences. Dr. Hayne is an equal opportunity offender, and children are fair game. Hayne testified in both trials as the only expert and put forth theories yet to be proven by science. One, JOnes, had no witnesses called on his behalf. He was put on the stand and raked over the coals by 2 seasoned prosecutors and the defense rested. He was interrogated without parent/lawyer present, hungry, exhausted and in shock gave a confession. His mother was not allowed to see him for weeks and then when a newspaper reporter got involved, was reluctantly allowed in after the sheriff tried one more time to deny her by saying it wasn’t his visiting day. “They call it Mississippi, it don’t flow to me”.-Train

  27. equal opportunity “destroyer” is what I meant to say.

  28. No Mississippi doesn’t need this but they allow it. It’s “Good Ole Boy” country down there. The people in postition of power all got each others back both legally and finacially. Average citizens are to scared to say or do something for fear of getting into trouble.

    Yes many innocent people are in prison because of these three…not all…but many. ALL THOSE EXONORATED should sue the pants off the counties they were tried in and the state itself. Perhaps when Haley wakes up and sees that the state he heads (one of the poorest I might add) is losing millions in civil suits, maybe then he will investigate these three and all the people they have participated in putting behind bars!

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