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The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist

A True Story of Injustice in the American South

by Radley Balko Author · Tucker Carrington Author

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A shocking and deeply reported account of the persistent plague of institutional racism and junk forensic science in our criminal justice system, and its devastating effect on innocent lives


After two three-year-old girls were raped and murdered in rural Mississippi, law enforcement pursued and convicted two innocent men: Kennedy Brewer and Levon Brooks. Together they spent a combined thirty years in prison before finally being exonerated in 2008. Meanwhile, the real killer remained free.


The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist recounts the story of how the criminal justice system allowed this to happen, and of how two men, Dr. Steven Hayne and Dr. Michael West, built successful careers on the back of that structure. For nearly two decades, Hayne, a 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. Together they became the go-to experts for prosecutors and helped put countless Mississippians in prison. But then some of those convictions began to fall apart.


Here, Radley Balko and Tucker Carrington tell the haunting story of how the courts and Mississippi's death investigation system—a relic of the Jim Crow era—failed to deliver justice for its citizens. The authors argue that bad forensics, structural racism, and institutional failures are at fault, raising sobering questions about our ability and willingness to address these crucial issues.

Publication Details

Publisher:
PublicAffairs
Publication Date:
2018

Format

  • Kindle Book
  • OverDrive Read 3.3 MB
  • Adobe EPUB eBook 2.9 MB

Radley Balko (Author)

Radley Balko is an investigative journalist and reporter at the Washington Post. He currently writes and edits The Watch, a reported opinion blog that covers civil liberties and the criminal justice system. He is the author of the 2013 book Rise o...

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The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist
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