For his entire tenure as attorney general, Hood has steadfastly defended Steven Hayne, the controversial medical examiner who did 80-90 percent of the state’s autopsies for nearly 20 years. (Hayne and West were collaborators. Hayne often referred cases to West, while West often assisted Hayne with his autopsies.) That’s probably at least in part because Hood frequently used Hayne back when he worked in a DA’s office. When Mississippi’s public safety commissioner effectively fired Hayne several years ago, Hood led an effort to resurrect an antiquated law to bring Hayne back.  As for Michael West, Hood did finally admit in 2011 that West had credibility problems. He even told a local TV station that he was conducting an investigation. A few months later, the assistant attorney general Hood allegedly assigned to head up that investigation was asked what he had found. He replied that to that point, he had done a Westlaw search on West’s name — the legal equivalent of typing West’s name into Google. Five years later, we’ve heard nothing from Hood or his office about what that investigation has turned up. And this is an attorney general who is anything but publicity-shy. Instead, Hood’s office is still aggressively fighting to preserve convictions won with West’s testimony. In most cases, Hood’s office now argues that defendants are procedurally barred from raising questions about West’s expertise. In these cases, Hood and his subordinates don’t even try to argue that West is credible. They don’t dispute that West’s testimony was fraudulent. Instead, they that the defendant has already attempted to challenge West’s credibility either at trial, during an appeal, or in post-conviction — and lost. By publicly acknowledging that West is not a credible witness, Hood has admitted that the Mississippi’s courts were wrong to allow and uphold West’s testimony. But he’s willing to keep people in prison based on the fact that years ago, he and his predecessors persuaded Mississippi’s courts to approve that testimony — to issue those wrong decisions — and the law now prevents those same defendants from raising that issue again. Hood is essentially arguing that Mississippi keep people in prison — or in Howard’s case, that Mississippi execute someone — on a technicality......... Hood is widely expected to run for governor next year. As one of the only Democrats holding statewide office in the deep south (and a fairly popular one at that), he’s expected to get a lot of support from the national party once he announces. So far in his political career, Hood has found success in the south by countering his close (and at time scandalous) relationship with the plaintiff’s bar and high-profile fights with prominent businesses with an unapologetic embrace of law-and-order policies, including a particular enthusiasm for the death penalty. It will be interesting to see if he continues to pull it off. The landscape on criminal justice is shifting. Hood’s efforts to undermine the rights of criminal defendants and his utter disinterest in the forensics crisis unfolding right under his nose may came back to haunt him."
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The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:
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