Thursday, October 2, 2014

Jeffrey Havard's Unfair Trial!

There's no question that Jeffrey Havard did not receive a fair trial. I'd like to also point out how Jeffrey was treated during the pretrial stage:
The federal Constitution Requires no person arrested without a warrant shall be subjected to prolonged detention without first being presented before a neutral and detached magistrate or judge for a prompt judicial determination of probable cause. The United States Supreme Court determined long ago that a "prompt determination of probable cause" means one that occurs within 48 hours of secure detention. Jeffrey was detained for 87 hours before he was brought before a judge.
The law in Mississippi requires that all persons detained pending trial shall be entitled to a preliminary hearing within 30 days of his or her first appearance before a judge. Jeffrey was detained for total of 89 days before a preliminary hearing was held.
Jeffrey's attorney was not provided a copy of Dr. Hayne's autopsy report until the morning of his preliminary hearing. When Jeff's attorney complained that he should have received a copy of the autopsy report earlier, so that he could prepare for the hearing, Ronnie Harper informed the court: "I make it available at the proper time, Your Honor." Jeff's lawyer was then granted a 10 minute recess so that he could review the report and attempt to formulate some meaningful questions.
Deputy Manley was the sole witness at the preliminary hearing and, of course, Manley had had the benefit of being able to review the autopsy report prior to taking the witness stand. Manley testified that the results of the autopsy showed that the cause of death was shaken baby syndrome and that the autopsy also referred to a "tear in the anus." Of course, we now know the autopsy said no such thing, and it was not until January 19, 2014, after Jeff had already spent 12 years on death row, that we learned that Dr. Hayne had performed a microscopic analysis of anal tissue and had definitively determined that there were no tears to the child's anus. In other words, although the doctors and nurses may have honestly believed that they saw a tear to the child's anus, when the anal tissue was carefully reviewed under a microscope, there was no evidence of injury to the anal tissue – it was physically impossible for the anus to have been torn. The doctors and nurses simply were mistaken.
Not only did prosecutors fail to disclose to the defense that Dr. Hayne had conducted that microscopic analysis of the anal tissue, but Dr. Hayne testified at trial that due to rigor mortis, he may very well have missed seeing a tear that had been seen by all of the doctors and nurses. In light of disclosures that Dr. Hayne made to Jerry Mitchell of the Clarion ledger in January of this year, it is clear that Dr. Haynes testimony at trial was false.
Apparently, that's what they call "justice" in Mississippi. 

Jen Fitzgerald