Criminal Justice

Dr. Steven Hayne Is Done


My sources in Mississippi tell me that tomorrow afternoon the new commissioner of the state's Department of Public Safety will announce that embattled medical examiner Dr. Steven Hayne will be removed from the state's list of approved medical examiners.

Which means he'll no longer be performing autopsies in Mississippi.  There may be other sanctions in the works, too.

There's a press conference scheduled for 1:30pm CT.

Read my long investigative piece on Hayne from reason's October issue here.  My follow-up reporting on Hayne here.

MORE: Jackson TV station WLBT has the first report.

NEXT: The "L" Word

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  1. You’ve done commendable work on this, Radley. My hat is off to you.

  2. You’re a hero, Radley.

  3. Ditto to all the above.

  4. Wow. Fighting the good fight, Radley. Keep it up–you do a great service. And get results!

  5. Good job throwing some sand into the gears of the machine. Well done!

  6. a magnificent achievement

  7. Great job, Radley: over the next several years, you may perhaps be single-handedly responsible for dozens or even hundreds of people having wrongful convictions overturned.

    The immediate question is: will justice be done? How many years will Hayne spend in prison? Will lawsuits reduce him to destitution, packing bags at the local Kroger to pay for his basement apartment?

    That said, let’s keep perspective: this is but one battle won in the neverending war against abuse of power by the state.

  8. You’ve done amazing work on this issue, Radley. Kudos.

  9. To paraphrase Quint from “Jaws”: Radley, you’re a remorseless eatin’ machine (now you’ll have to work on the lifeless, doll eyes).

    The only thing that could make this better news is the part where you pull the mask off of Haynes and he claims he would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for you meddling libertarians.

  10. Radley,

    In getting that quack kicked out of of the Mississippi government court system, you have done far more to advance the cause of liberty than 99.99% of libertarians.

    If you’re ever in Boston, I would be honored to buy you a beer.

  11. Congratulations and thank you, RB.

  12. Radley! May your name always be followed by an exclamation point. Outstanding work, my man, outstanding.

  13. good work, you deserve a Pulitzer for this, Radley.

  14. I’ll buy you a hopsicle if you can get an interview with Hayne now. Two if it’s face to face. Three if he assaults you.

  15. YAY RADLEY! You, sir, are a rockstar!

    Is there a process we use to submit someone for a Pulitzer?

  16. Having followed this story from the beginning, I’m hesitant to let myself get too excited until the announcement is official.

    But whatever happens, you’ve not only done award-worthy journalism to help make this happen, but there are likely many innocent individuals in Mississippi that get their lives back in large part due to the work you’ve done.

    I’m proud to call you a friend.

  17. And I would have gotten away with it to if it weren’t for that meddling libertarian!

  18. Seriously though Mr. Balko if you ever find yourself in Orlando I will buy you a fine steak dinner at Charley’s Steakhouse. Currently rated number one in the country.

  19. Amazing work Radley. Congratulations.

  20. Awesome.

    Question: Are you planning to nail his stethoscope to your mantle?

  21. I’m more impressed that you *didn’t* do it single-handedly. You worked with the Innocence Project, the MSM, defense lawyers, and local politicians to remove a corrupt man from his gravy train and influence on the justice system of an entire state. This is the kind of coordination and common ground establishment that has been sorely lacking in the libertarian movement. You’ve moved a mountain with hard work, perseverance, and respectful discourse. You’re not a hero, you’re much much more. Congratulations and thank you!

  22. Congratulations and all that.

    Now, let’s get down to brass tacks: who should Balko get fired next?

  23. Sorry to be a wet blanket. While I am bursting with libertarian man crush giggles for Radley (good show ol’ boy, sincerely) I’m force to ask, What now?

    I’d say it’s pure vanity to hope that the thousands (tens of? hundreds of?) prisoners whom Hayne testified against will have their case reviewed. Given all that Balko has uncovered here, I think it likely that large numbers of innocent men are serving time in Mississippi prisons.

    And what is to replace the infamous Dr. Hayne. Pardon me if I doubt the rot and decay will depart with him.

  24. Well done. Although I’d be careful about the way you phrase the thing. “Done” sounds a little mercenary. Hopefully there will be more questions followed up on.

  25. Does anyone care that Cheney and friends are openly contemplating how best to do a false flag attack according to Seymour hersh?

  26. Sandy | August 4, 2008, 10:11pm | #


    Question: Are you planning to nail his stethoscope…

    gilmore scratches head, wondering why man who examine dead bodies need stethoscope

    “This man is suffering from severe bronchitis”

    “Dr Hayne, we have his skull and some of his liver in a box over here…”

    “Please! Dont second guess my diagnosis. We have work to do! Rub some vicks vaporub on this mans chest cavity. And get me some antibiotics for those other fellows from the car crash.”

  27. gilmore scratches head, wondering why man who examine dead bodies need stethoscope

    I hear nussink! Nussink!

  28. Good work sir. Good work indeed.

  29. Gabe,

    No, that’s expected of them at this point.

  30. Now, let’s get down to brass tacks: who should Balko get fired next?

    Mary Beth Buchanan. Is there really any other choice?

  31. I’ve been following this for story for a few years now in my lurking non-often commenty-ness. Thank you for your great work Radley Balko, I can’t wait to read the exciting conclusion… Then the epilogue… and then your next work.

  32. Well, I am speechless?but thanking God! I can’t wait to tell Devin!

    Yippee Cayeah!

    Guess The Little Rascals will just have to ‘make do’ without “Porky”.

    Thanks Radley, and thanks to everyone of you who take the time to blog, comment and speak out against injustices. No doubt EVERYONE who did has a hand in this miracle!


  33. Hang on everyone. Let’s let Mr. Hayne have his fair day in court. Then we’ll hang him.

  34. Radley, you are the pinnacle of what a good journalist should be. Bravo.

  35. Congrats Rad. Now do my boss. I keed I keed. But i think i shall donate to the Innocence Project to honor the occasion.

  36. Not being in the US I cannot do this, but I sure hope one of you will do it: send Hayne a proposal for a burger flipping job. Please.

  37. Better late than never. Now, is the state going to do something about the people wrongly convicted based on this asshole’s testimony?


  38. I sure hope one of you will do it: send Hayne a proposal for a burger flipping job. Please.

    Sorry, he’s not qualified for such a responsible position.


  39. Now witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational Internet journalist!

    This is fantastic news. Radley, if you ever come to Oregon, dinner’s on me.

  40. Congratulations Radley!

    Really one of the best pieces of work I have ever seen. What a tremendous job!

    Add me to the list of your Boston-based fans. I’m sure if we all get together we can spring for a beer-soaked steakfest in your honor.

  41. Congrats, Radley!

    Excellent work!

  42. “Now witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational Internet journalist!”

    Strike that – simply what a *journalist* can do. We see so few real journalists these days that we forget the power of a press whose job is to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted, rather than the other way around.

    Congratulations, Radley!!!!!!!!!!!!

  43. Radley Balko

    Kudos and a hearty Bravo Zulu to you sir. Your relentless efforts in exposing this charlatan to the world are worthy of high praise indeed. The many Mondays that you have ruined by your reporting are all happily forgiven. Thank you so much for your hard work.

  44. Congratulations! This story should be taught at J school.

  45. If Balko and his accomplices can get Mississippi to change, then there’s hope that his crusades against violent drug raids and self-interested informants could also be successful. I’m a little less cynical today, thanks.

  46. Thanks, Radley. You’ve restored some measure hope. Sure, there’s plenty left to be done, but this is one of those defining moments where the tide has obviously turned, as it were.

    If you’re ever in Richmond (VA) dinner and pints on me at Capitol Ale House.

  47. Finally some good news on this story. You work in an example of what can be done. Congratuations, Radley.

  48. This is what makes it all worthwhile. Even if corruption marches on at every level of government, every now and then someone particularly heinous gets nailed to the wall. Fuck yes, Radley.

  49. I was having a really crummy morning until I read this post. This is great news! Yay for Radley!

  50. In the unlikely event you are ever in San Angelo, TX, steaks, scotch, and stogies are on me, Radley.

  51. Someone really needs to write a book about this guy and the people he has had wrongly convicted.

  52. Now, let’s get down to brass tacks: who should Balko get fired next?

    There’s some loopy prosecutor in PA (I forget her name at the moment) that needs to go. Is it Buchanan?

  53. Ah shit, didn’t see Warty’s post. But that’s at least 2 votes for her.

  54. THANKS!

  55. Thanks Radley.

  56. Radley, what size cape do you wear?

    I can only echo earlier commenters that this is what journalists *are supposed* to be doing. You are truly a fighter for truth, justice, and the (Founders’) American Way. Your stories elevate my blood pressure far more than is healthy, but thank you for your various and universally noble crusades. Bravo.

    Sign me up for the Balko free dinner tour of America. If you’re ever in east TN or northwestern NC, I’ll be happy to buy you dinner.

  57. let me be the least, but not last, to say, “you go girl!!!!” hmmm… or something positive and exclamatory!

    But being a curmudgeon, everybody in the State goverment should be prosecuted and convicted for a lack of due diligence and overall obstruction of justice.

  58. The work of freedom marches on thanks to you and the others who worked on this case, Radley. Good job.

  59. You can certainly add me to the list of hosts for the Balko free dinner tour of America.

    Bravo, Radley!

  60. way to go Radley. One of the best investigative journalists out there.
    If you are ever in Sacramento, beers on me and all that jazz.

  61. You’ll never pay for a meal in Oklahoma City, either. Few people truly earn the right to be called “heroes;” your dedication to the real spirit of America moves you to the top of the list.


  63. Since it’s unlikely that Mr. Balko will be travelling around the nation to have hundreds of steak dinners with people he doesn’t really know, I suggest we all do what I just did: go to Radley’s site ( and throw $25 bucks at him via the “Contribute” section on the left hand side of the page.

    After all, the market (in this case, the market for getting rid of corrupt officials) needs to send some goddamned signals that we want more of this sort of thing.

    I hereby declare a Radley Balko moneybomb!

  64. Well done, Radley!

  65. Good job Radley.

    It’s great that this guy will be out of buisness, but will Mississippi right his past wrongs?

  66. I can only echo the previous comments, Radley. You are a true soldier.

    That being said, I just want others to note this from the SunHerald:

    Former Jackson Mayor Dale Danks, Hayne’s attorney, says the letter did not explain the reason for the removal, an action Danks called “totally unjustified.”

  67. It was in the SunHerald, but it is from the AP.

  68. YES!! Good work pays off, Balko – how does it feel? Like Rimfax says, all the more credit for having worked with so many others and having always made it about the story, the innocent victims of this guy’s criminal malfeasance, than about yourself, like so many other journalists are prone to. Great fucking job and if I ever see you in a bar you shall drink for free.

  69. well thats a little good news but their still is alot of work to be done with the way things are being done is Ms with hard work and the man above it will soon happen


    This article accurately describes public officials as “circling the wagons” around Hayne. Judges and prosecutors, and coroners by association, are now the groups most vulnerable to losses if somehow, some way, this glutton’s malfeasance is thoroughly investigated. None of these positions should be elected without term limits. When the same process (one person performing all autopsies, for instance) is repeated so many times, the chance for systemic errors becomes unacceptable, even if greed, malice and bad intent are taken out of the equation. It’s been terrifying to live here, knowing how jurisprudence occurs. Hopefully, all autopsies will have to be performed by these Tennessee pathologists, including death investigations in the South part of the state, where another pathologist (Paul McGerry) has made a cottage industry out of autopsies there and in Louisiana. Rumors are: heavy contributors to the campaigns for all who have the most to gain in the results of autopsies.

  71. It’s been a while since I’ve posted here at all, but well done, Radley! It’s impressive that you’ve stuck with this for so long and I’m glad there’s finally progress. Hopefully Hayne will have to pay with more than just losing the state’s stamp of approval. It’d probably be too much wishful thinking to hope for a similar fate for those that have defended and enabled him.

  72. Well done, sir. To the long list of people offering you free dinners, I’ll add myself: if you’re ever in San Francisco let me know.

  73. >> Now, let’s get down to brass tacks:
    >> who should Balko get fired next?

    > Mary Beth Buchanan.
    > Is there really any other choice?

    I nominate Leura Canary.

  74. Stephen Haynes WILL burn in hell for all that he has done to innocent people. There are people in blazing hot prisons in MS because of Hayne. He deserves to burn in hell. I hope the Commissioner of Public Safety, Steve Simpson knows the MS law concerning the medical examiner. Hayne was not qualified to be doing autopsies in MS. And for Steve Simpson to say that Steven Haynes could apply for the vacant medical examiners job is unheard of. Radley there’s still work to be done in MS. Seems that we have lots of politicians that really don’t care about the innocent people of MS.

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