Autopsies Are Linchpins in Prosecution, Oversight Needed

Special prosecutor needs special medical examiners
September 24, 2015 Updated: September 26, 2015

Dear Editor,

When deaths in police custody occur, riots, property damage and other civilian injuries and more deaths often ensue.  Society turns to medical examiners to provide scientific truths in order to restore law and order and administer justice. Since medical examiner diagnoses are the linchpin to criminal prosecutions, death investigations and autopsies must be quickly and accurately conducted.

An on-call team of board-certified forensic pathologists from the Greater Metropolitan area have agreed to act as “special medical examiners” at police-related autopsies performed by other New York medical examiners. The purpose of this group is to monitor the quality of death investigations and autopsies conducted by government officials, stop allegations of medical examiner cover-ups and conspiracies, curb the spread of violence and safeguard public health and safety.

In contrast to the special prosecutor, special medical examiners will not usurp the authority of local death investigators. Once the autopsy is completed, special medical examiners will recuse themselves from any further involvement in criminal and civil proceedings.

Unless otherwise instructed, they will refrain from any public discussion about the cases. Witnesses will not be compensated for their “do good” community services. 

The special medical examiner plan has been submitted to the Governor and Special Prosecutor for consideration.  Hopefully, our leaders will see the benefits of having forensic medical consultants participate in special prosecutions of police-related deaths.

Mark L. Taff, M.D.
Forensic Pathologist
West Hempstead, New York

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.