Criminal Justice

Hayne, West Sued


Kennedy Brewer is one of two men thus far shown to have been wrongly convicted based on the testimony of the now former Mississippi medical examiner Dr. Steven Hayne and disgraced forensic odontologist Dr. Michael West.  Brewer filed suit against the two last week.  Brewer is asking for $18 million, plus unspecified punitive damages.

As an aside, it's really too bad that it's so incredibly difficult to sue prosecutors, because Mississippi District Attorney Forrest Allgood should really be included in this suit.  Even assuming Allgood wasn't aware of Hayne's and West's dishonesty at the time of the trial (and there's plenty of reason to think he was fully aware of it), it was Allgood's efforts to protect his conviction, his continued reliance on West's testimony as the chief evidence against Brewer in the appeals process long after West had been exposed as a fraud, and his stubborn refusal to check the DNA in the case against the state's database that kept Kennedy Brewer in prison years after DNA tests exonerated him.

Allgood's obstinance in the Brewer case also prolonged the wrongful imprisonment of another man, Levon Brooks.  When the DNA samples were finally run against the state database, they pointed to a single man as the culprit in the separate crimes for which Allgood convicted Brooks and Brewer.  He later confessed.  My sources say part of the reason Allgood was so stubborn in the Brewer case is that he knew DNA testing would show he wrongly convicted Brooks, too.  Instead, he fought like hell to keep two innocent men in prison.

And of course, Allgood's tactics also allowed the guy who actually committed the crimes to remain free for 15 years.  Allgood has been distorting his role in the convictions ever since.

But there will be more exonerations in Mississippi.  And more lawsuits.  And more than a few of them will be cases in which Allgood was the prosecutor.

For now, here's hoping that Brewer wins back a big chunk of the money Hayne and West have been taking from Mississippi's taxpayers for 20 years.

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  1. Radley, I don’t think I’ve ever said this: thank you for going after this scum. In a better world, Hayne, West and Allgood would receive prison sentences to match the sum total of all those they wrongfully convicted.

  2. As much as I’d like to see these guys pay, with their money and freedom, I just don’t see it. Don’t they just claim they did their best, which was certainly pathetic but not illegal?

  3. I thought this said “Kanye, West sued” at first.

    Not that that adds anything, but it was pretty funny to me.

  4. The Angry Optimist,

    I thought the same thing….I was sure what he would get sued for….maybe he caught the R Kelly syndrome and started peeing on minors…

    but alas,

    It is just a scum bag getting sued, which is even better news (not as funny as people getting peed on)

  5. I third the reading of the headline as “Kanye, West Sued”. I was trying to make sense of it for 30 or so seconds before realizing.

    I’m becoming convinced that Radley works for some pharmaceutical company that makes anti-depression meds. Each article is makes me feel ever more impotent.

  6. See, this is what real journalism looks like.

    Thank God someone is doing this. There’s so little accountability in the system.

  7. For now, here’s hoping that Brewer wins back a big chunk of the money Hayne and West have been taking from Mississippi’s taxpayers for 20 years.

    Here’s hoping an impoverished Hayne and West spend their remaining years in a rat infested flophouse.

    Basthroom’s at the end of the hall. Knock before entering because all of the tenants on this floor share it.

  8. These boys deserve the Deliverance treatment . . . and in some strange alternate dimension/reality, their cornholes are hurtin real bad. Too bad it, or any kind of justice for that matter, will never happen here.

  9. The blank check immunity given to prosecutors must end. It’s gone beyond incompetence into willful malice and these scum still walk free and still practice law.

  10. ‘I thought this said “Kanye, West sued” at first.’


  11. As regards punishment for pathologist Hayne, it is a shame vivisection is no longer available…

  12. Personally, I would settle for the freedom of ALL of the people who were wrongfully convicted by the Hayne-West-Allgood trio.

    Compensation for Brewer, Brooks and all of their other victims would be nice, but the most important thing is that the innocent be set free.

    As for Hayne, West & Allgood: May they be on the receiving end of “Another Isolated Incident.”

  13. It is curious that doctors who are shown to be incompetent can lose the license to practice medicine, and yet it seems impossible to get an incompetent prosecutor disbarred.

    And yet both are given the responsibility for the lives of others.

  14. I’m all for setting up Allgood with a hooker and a hidden camera. Shall we pass the hat?

  15. I’m rooting for the plaintiff for once, and (shudder) even his lawyer.

    Kick some ass, boys, and let’s hope the crud in the system won’t go so far as to prevent a fair trial, and that more innocent prisoners can be released based on the publicity this will hopefully generate. (Mr Balko has already done plenty of that, but I hope a critical mass of public protest will soon be reached).

  16. This kind of journalism is so very very necessary. It’s the only real check on these kinds of abuses.

    It’s a terrible shame there’s only one Radley Balko out there, as I’m sure this kind of thing is happening all over largely unnoticed.

  17. Fifthing the Kanye thing.

  18. So Radley, will you offer to testify for the plaintiff? Seems like they’ll need some experts to validate the claims before a jury. Or, since this is Mississippi, would having an outsider appear for them just do more harm than good?

  19. For some reason, every time I see something about Hayne, I think of Mr. Haney from Green Acres.

    I am somewhat troubled by this. There is not really anything comedic about Dr. Steven Hayne.

  20. I’m almost positive the “Kanye West” thing was intentional. (If not, sixthed).

  21. But she ain’t messin’ with no broke …

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