Mississippi medical examiner Steven Hayne has sworn under oath repeatedly in recent years that he is certified by the American Board of Forensic Pathology. But the board, which was never recognized by the National Association of Medical Examiners, ceased to exist in 1995. Innocence Project Co-Director Peter Neufeld pointed out this weekend that this is several of many instances in which Hayne’s testimony under oath has misrepresented the facts.
"This shows Hayne has misrepresented his credentials under oath," said Peter Neufeld, co-director of the New York-based Innocence Project, which has called for Hayne to be stripped of his medical license.
Hayne, who says he works 110 hours a week and conducts 1,500 autopsies a year, gave incorrect and misleading testimony at the trials of Levon Brooks and Kennedy Brewer, both Innocence Project clients who were exonerated this year after serving a combined three decades in prison for murders they didn’t commit. Brewer spent much of his time on death row.
Lawyers and inmates in Mississippi have begun to envision major legal repercussions as Hayne’s questionable practices come to light.
Hinds County Assistant Public Defender Matthew Eichelberger has questioned Hayne under oath about his credentials.
"We as a state need to brace ourselves for a tidal wave of innocence claims as a result of what's been uncovered regarding Steven Hayne," he said. "And the scariest part of all of this isn't the thousands of hours of extra work we in the legal community will have to face. It's the stark realization that there are innocent people behind bars, some of whom have been there a very long time."
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. (Jackson Clarion-Ledger, 04/27/08)
Read Reason Magazine’s investigation of Mississippi forensics – “