Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Hayne nightmare continues -- Mississippi getting ready to kill a possibly innocent man

    Radley Balko reports for the Huffington Post on the latest travesty of justice in Mississippi. Our state is getting ready to execute a man who is quite possibly innocent.
    Please take a few minutes out of your day to read the article linked to above. For years Mississippi prosecutors used Mississippi medical examiner Stephen Hayne as an expert witness to put people in prison or on death row. By reputation he is the type of person who would say just about anything the prosecutors wanted him to say to secure a conviction. He wasn't board certified, and eventually the law was changed to keep him from testifying in any further trials.
    I used to support the death penalty. I don't any more and haven't for a number of years. It's cases like this one, the Duke Lacrosse case, the George Zimmerman case, and many others that have convinced me that too often the police and/or unscrupulous prosecutors either frame innocent people or decide on guilt and throw out the rule book. Most prosecutors are honest and fair, but it only takes a few bad ones to commit what amounts to legalized murder.
    I doubt that contacting Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant will do any good, but as citizens we have a duty to do so. I certainly will, and will ask that the death sentence of Jeffrey Havard be commuted. I don't know whether Havard is guilty or not, but what I do know is that no one, and I do mean no one, should be convicted -- much less put to death -- based on the testimony of Stephen Hayne.
    I hope anyone reading this will join me in contacting our governor.
    I might add that at some point I will be contacting our attorney general, an old friend in whom I am gravely disappointed.

Thanks to Y'all Politics for bringing the Balko post to my attention.

    Radley Balko has been doing the Lord's work down here in Mississippi. All Mississippians not yet executed are in his debt. 

    Also, now might be a good time to read my blog post about former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Jimmy Robertson's lament over his very minor role in sustaining the conviction of an innocent man (he wasn't on the three-judge panel but concurred in t he opinion). The blog post is linked to a newsletter article he wrote, so you can read Jimmy's writing rather than mine!

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