Over at the main HuffPost blog, I have a new investigative piece up about the Jeffrey Havard case.
Regular readers will recognize the name, and that this is another case involving the disgraced medical examiner Steven Hayne.If you've been following the Hayne saga, you'll also appreciate this:
So Hayne's defamation lawsuit against the Innocence Project gave the organization the right to demand a trove of documents from him during discovery. Those documents are now the basis of a whole new round of pleadings attacking not just Hayne's credibility, but the state's culpability in enabling him. I've talked to some sources in Mississippi about the new pleadings. From what I understand they're damning, and show Hayne has serially lied about his background. Sweet karma.
The Innocence Project filed a complaint against Hayne with the Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure in 2008 seeking to revoke Hayne's medical license. Hayne responded with a defamation suit, which the organization settled earlier this year for $100,000 . . .
Over the past year, the Mississippi Innocence Project has dedicated staff to investigating Hayne's background, methods, and history of questionable testimony. They have filed or plan to file pleadings in several cases -- including Jeffrey Havard's -- citing the new information they've uncovered.
Ironically, their investigation began with documents the team found during the discovery phase of Hayne's defamation suit against the Innocence Project. What they've found since implicates not only Hayne, but a host of police officials, prosecutors, even judges who knew Hayne was deficient and offering dubious testimony, but did nothing to stop it. "We've known for a while that there was a problem here," says Tucker Carrington, the director of the project. "But I really had no concept of the depth and breadth of the malfeasance. This isn't just Hayne. It's ... well, it's almost everybody. The state has known all along that it was pulling the wool over everyone's eyes."
Of course, if officials in Mississippi had any shame at all, the stuff we already know about Hayne would have led to a thorough review of the thousands of cases his testimony may have tainted. That should have happened several years ago. But the state's supreme court has a bit of a different makeup now. And as Carrington says, there has yet to be a thorough, substantive challenge to Hayne's credibility in federal court.
Drip, drip, drip. And the spigot's still loose. Stay tuned for more.