Call for review of Dr. Steven Hayne's testimonies - - The News for South Mississippi

Call for review of Dr. Steven Hayne's testimonies

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Controversy is once again surrounding Dr. Steven Hayne, the man who performed most of the state's autopsies for over 20 years. The Mississippi Innocence Project and some defense attorneys are calling for a closer look into some courtroom records.

Hayne is no stranger to debate about his credentials. But he seems unphased by this latest call for review.

"I consider they have an agenda," said Hayne. "They're going to do what they want to do. And I say fine. Go ahead and look at the cases. My work will stand up."

Hayne has been accused of doing shoddy work and critics have pointed to the work load he undertook as a key problem.

"I did about 1,700 a year. Somewhere in that range," explained Hayne. "If you look at the number of hours I worked, routinely I'd work 100 hours a week."

That breaks down to over four autopsies every day, assuming he worked seven days a week as he said. Despite other reviews, Hayne continues to testify in cases but admits the scrutiny hasn't been easy.

"It's fairly stressful. Especially being accused of something you didn't do and prove it," said Hayne. "It's not there. And it goes to the basic honesty of the people criticizing me. I hold them in contempt."

Hayne was removed from the state's list of approved medical examiners in 2008. And Mississippi's Supreme Court has already overturned two cases in which Hayne testified. But he's been called in multiple trials across the state.

"Because of the scope and the concern with Dr. Hayne's testimony in many of those cases, I think that what we need to do is a full scale review of all the cases that he testified as an expert in," said former Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Oliver Diaz.

Diaz is also a member of the Innocence Project's Board of Directors. He says the Supreme Court or legislature would have to order the independent review.

"This needs to happen so future trials in which Dr. Hayne's going to be used is not going to be called into question at a later date," said Diaz.

Diaz believes the findings could result in more exonerations.

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