A defense attorney in a Mississippi capital murder trial Tuesday disputed the credentials of medical examiner Steven Hayne, whose false testimony in the past has contributed to at least two wrongful convictions overturned by DNA testing.
Hayne took the stand in the murder trial of Christopher Logan, who is accused of causing the death of his girlfriend’s 14-month-old son. Hayne conducted an autopsy on the child and decided it was a homicide based on the pattern of bruising.
Hayne testified Tuesday that he performs between 1,500 and 1,600 autopsies a year. He said a suggested professional standard is 250 autopsies a year.
"About how many hours a day do you think you work?" Polk-Payton asked.
"I usually start work at about 8:15 in the morning," Hayne answered. "Last night I got to bed at actually 2:30 this morning."
Hayne testified that he only sleeps 3 1/2 to four hours a night, as a result of his work schedule.
"I don't like to sleep. That's the way I am, some people need sleep, some don't – I don't need it," Hayne, 66, said.
Asked if he'd ever misdiagnosed a case, Hayne replied: "Can I make mistakes? Of course I can. I'm sure I have, I'm a human being."
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. (Hattiesburg American, 06/25/08)
The Innnocence Project has led calls for officials to revoke Hayne’s medical license based on his forensic misconduct, and has also called for the appointment of a state medical examiner to oversee autopsies in Mississippi.
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