The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist: Radley Balko and Tucker Carrington
Where: McNally Jackson
52 Prince St.
212-274-1160 Price: Free
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When two three-year-old girls were raped and murdered in rural Mississippi in 1990, law enforcement pursued and convicted two innocent men: Kennedy Brewer and Levon Brooks. Together they spent a combined thirty years in the state’s notorious Parchman Farm penitentiary before finally being exonerated in 2008. Meanwhile, the real killer remained free.
How could something like this happen? At least two men who built successful careers on the back of this condemnable system were responsible: Dr. Steven Hayne and Dr. Michael West. For nearly two decades, Dr. Hayne, a state medical examiner, performed the vast majority of Mississippi’s autopsies, while his friend Dr. West, a local dentist, pitched himself as a forensic jack-of-all-trades and “bite mark specialist.” The duo became prosecutors’ go-to experts for a speedy conviction—and Brewer and Brooks were just two of their countless victims. Their wrongful convictions lie at the intersection of the most pressing problems facing this country’s criminal justice system: structural injustice built on the historic foundation of race and class, and the much more contemporary but equally egregious problem of invalid forensic science. The old problem is inextricably entangled with and exacerbates the new.Buy tickets/get more info now