Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Bulletin: Election results Mississippi; Radley Balko presents good news and bad news: "One of America’s worst prosecutors lost last night, but one of its worst attorneys general won." ...The bad news is the reelection of Attorney General Jim Hood - a staunch supporter of notorious medical examiner Dr. Steven Hayne - as Attorney General. Washington Post;

"Mississippi was one of a handful of states to hold statewide elections last night. Regular readers of The Watch will recognize a couple of the names on the ballot. First, the good news: Longtime district attorney Forrest Allgood was defeated by challenger Scott Colom. Allgood had been DA for the state’s 16th judicial district since 1989. During that time, he became one of the most aggressive prosecutors in the country and a vocal defender of notorious medical examiner Steven Hayne and the disgraced bite mark “expert” Michael West. Allgood continued to both use and defend West long after he’d been widely considered a fraud, even within the already-suspect community of bite mark analysts. He, in fact, once compared West to Copernicus, calling him a man of science widely misunderstood by his contemporaries..........Like Allgood, Hood has been a staunch defender of Hayne over the years. (Hood often utilized Hayne himself when he was a district attorney.) In fact, when Hayne was effectively fired from conducting state autopsies a few years ago, Hood led a failed effort to bring him back. Hood did recently acknowledge West’s credibility problems, but he has done very little to address them, and, in fact, his office is still defending convictions won with West’s testimony, including at least one death penalty conviction." Radley Balko blogs about criminal justice, the drug war and civil liberties for The Washington Post. He is the author of the book "Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces."