Radley Balko, investigative reporter for the Washington Post, has just published an article dealing with the justice system’s refusal/inability to deal appropriately with false, fake, unscientific, and discredited forensic evidence post conviction.
The focus is on a case that involves the infamous Dr. Steven Hayne, a now thoroughly discredited expert witness, who was sole medical examiner for the state of Mississippi for 20 years. I urge you to read the entire article, but I’ve extracted a few particularly telling quotes:
• “The courts and the people who operate in them seem to feel that the integrity of the system demands the preservation of verdicts.”
Addressing the fact that the body of scientific knowledge grows as a process, rather than an event; coupled with the legal time restrictions for introduction of new evidence ————
• “From the perspective of the wrongly convicted, you can see the trap here. File too soon, and the court may conclude that you haven’t presented enough evidence that the forensic theory upon which you were convicted has been discredited. If you then try to file more petitions as more evidence comes out to bolster your argument, you risk the court concluding that this is an issue you’ve already raised, you lost, and you’re therefore barred from raising it again.”
• “Koon was convicted due to testimony from an expert the court now admits isn’t credible. For the same court to nevertheless uphold his conviction because he missed a deadline is to keep him in prison on a technicality. It’s a cynical outcome that suggests the criminal justice system values process more than justice.”
Read the story by Radley Balko of the Washington Post here.