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The Fifth Circuit Turns Its Back on Forensics Scandal in Mississippi, by Radley Balko, The Washington Post, reposted in Forensic Magazine


With a curt, three-page ruling late last month, a three-judge panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit denied the post-conviction petition of Tavares Flaggs, a Mississippi man currently serving a life sentence for murder.

Flaggs was convicted in large part because of the testimony of Steven Hayne, a medical examiner who for about two decades was able to monopolize the autopsy business in Mississippi. This story should really be one of the bigger criminal justice scandals in recent U.S. history. It potentially affects thousands of cases, both criminal and civil. It involves wrongful convictions, and people let off who should be behind bars. Several of the people convicted based on flawed testimony from Hayne are still on death row, in both Mississippi and in Louisiana. Flaggs’ petition, filed by the Mississippi Innocence Project, was the most comprehensive summary of what happened in Mississippi yet to get before a federal court. The Fifth Circuit panel brushed it aside in just four paragraphs. . . .