CSI Mississippi: The Cautionary Tale of Mississippi's Medico-Legal History
66 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2013
Date Written: May 23, 2013
Over the last four decades, extending even through the most recent twenty years of rapid forensic science advancements in the solving and prosecution of criminal offenses, Mississippi has maintained its condonation of systemic forensic malfeasance, and, more specifically, refused to adapt and properly accommodate contemporary forensic science in its courtrooms. Among the public health consequences was a medico-legal spoils system that valued pseudo-science and expedient criminal convictions over scientific validity and defendants’ basic civil rights. As a direct and entirely natural correlation Mississippi produced a significant number – and shocking type – of wrongful convictions and perpetrated some of the most notorious forensic fraud in American legal history.
This article documents for the first time the complete tragic history of the State’s medico-legal system from the mid-1970’s, when initial efforts were made to improve the local, coroner-based system, to the present day. Its primary purpose is to provide a comprehensive narrative through which the State might honestly come to terms on a morally acceptable basis with the attendant failures of justice that occurred as a result of the path it chose. In that way this article also offers up the Mississippi medico-legal system as a cautionary tale, a study in what not to do. Although all of the cases, agencies, and people discussed in this article are from Mississippi, the lessons learned from the Mississippi medico-legal system are universal.
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