Jim Hood continues with re-prosecution of women convicted of faulty bite mark evidence

After the exonerations of Brewer and Brooks – in which the office of Attorney General Jim Hood played a role – Hood talked of examining 20 or so cases in which West was involved.

Given West’s reversal, Stubbs and Vance are hoping Hood’s office will drop the charges against them.

Hood’s spokeswoman, Jan Schaefer, said he couldn’t comment on the case outside the court file and filings.

“The attorney general has recognized that bite mark evidence can be unreliable – and last fall he committed himself to investigating cases of innocence in which Dr. West testified,” said Valena Beety, an attorney for the Mississippi Innocence Project representing Stubbs. “Yet, a year later, his office is seeking to re-try two women wrongly convicted in large part due to the testimony of Dr. West in 2001.”

Tucker Carrington, director of the Mississippi Innocence Project at the University of Mississippi School of Law, which investigated the case, said Hood’s decision to reprosecute “is disappointing – both for my client and for the state’s criminal justice system overall.”

Eddie Lee Howard is on Mississippi’s death row because of West’s testimony, Carrington said.

“Mississippi is known nationally as the poster child for forensic fraud. It’s embarrassing. The attorney general’s office should be focused on repairing this damage, not perpetuating it.”

Jerry Mitchell
Clarion Ledger
8/6/12