Mississippi Chief Justice Bill L. Waller Jr. said on Wednesday he hopes to restore public trust in Mississippi's judicial system by promoting "a fair and efficient administration" in the state's Supreme Court.
Waller, who was elected as chief justice in January, said the high court plans to boost public confidence by providing better access to state courts and court records…Waller commended state officials for their efforts to restore confidence in the state's judicial system. For example, state Public Safety Commissioner Stephen B. Simpson removed controversial pathologist Dr. Steven Hayne from the state's designated list of pathologists.
Hayne's credibility and credentials came under scrutiny after his testimony helped to wrongfully convict two Mississippi men of capital murder charges. Due to legal assistance from the state's Innocence Project, the men's convictions were overturned last year.
Waller said cases involving Hayne's testimony that have been appealed also are being reviewed "very closely" by the state's Supreme Court."We're going to evaluate the cases one at a time. I applaud Commissioner Simpson's decision to go a different direction from Dr. Hayne," he said. "We must follow appropriate standards. I think we're moving in a better direction."
Given that Hayne has likely testified in tens of thousands of cases, civil and criminal, I don't know that a one-by-one, as-they-come review by the state's supreme court will be sufficient. But it's good to see that the new chief justice at least recognizes that Hayne is a problem. The court has been enabling Hayne for 20 years.
Meanwhile, Hayne testified in another Mississippi murder trial yesterday.
My prior reporting on Hayne here.