Fact Family Reunion Continues
The Fact family reunion continues in Ferguson, Mo. You can read our piece on the gathering HERE. Our other articles on the situation can be found HERE and HERE.
In our post “Fixing Stupid” we pointed out the questionable ethics of the pathologist hired by the family of Michael Brown. Dr. Michael Baden was a highly respected pathologist until he started his selling his services to the highest bidder. Think O.J. Simpson and Phil Specter. Now, a lot of retired professionals hire themselves out as consultants, but they do it with an ethical caveat. That caveat says they will testify to what the evidence shows, no more, no less. They will not lie or engage in other ethically dubious activities. Baden doesn’t seem to obey that.
As we watched the press conference on the half-assed autopsy allegedly done by Baden we thought it was strange he would defer to someone no one has ever heard of to tell the public that Michael Brown’s hands were in the air or in a ‘defensive” position when he was shot. At first we thought Baden might have realized he had a no-win situation on his hands and didn’t really want to put yet another dent in his already damaged reputation. Baden knew that “defensive” position described by his unknown “assistant” is also consistent with rounds striking someone who is in the midst of a running motion. The location of the wounds, on the front of the forearm, is consistent with someone charging at the person doing the shooting. Of course, Baden and his assistant neglected to mention that little piece of information.
Now we learn that Baden did not actually do the half-assed autopsy. According to the folks at the Conservative Treehouse, Baden wasn’t even in the state yet. It looks like he just flew in to show his face at the press conference and the entire “autopsy” and press conference were just theater directed by the attorneys for Brown’s family. Nothing like hiring someone who has had their qualifications and veracity questioned over and over again in the public eye. Good move.
So, who is the mystery assistant to which Dr. Baden deferred and who did the autopsy? According to Fox 4 Kansas City he is Shawn Parcells who bills himself as a “forensic pathologist assistant” and “medical investigator”. Back in May the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote an interesting article in which they and several coroners questioned Parcells’ qualifications. Parcells holds a BS degree (how appropriate) in Life Sciences/Chemistry. He apparently hung around an autopsy room for a while and that was sufficient training to make him an expert on things like cause and manner of death and mechanism of injury.
Parcell admits he has no training as a physician or pathologist and no certification or other qualifying documentation for his claimed specialty of pathology assistant. His excuse? They don’t have that in Kansas colleges.
He claims he hung around and interned with a Dr. Young, the former Jackson County Medical Examiner. Parcells claimed he worked for Dr. Young as a forensic assistant in 1997 and went back from 2005 to 2006. Here is what Dr. Young had to say about Parcells’ claims:
“Shawn hung out at the Jackson County Medical Examiner’s office but was not trained by me.”…. “He has been representing himself in a way that is not appropriate by giving forensic pathology opinions when he is not qualified to do so.”
It is a crime in Missouri for someone without a medical license to perform an autopsy. Based on his own response (linked below) Parcells only has a couple of years of experience “working” in the forensic pathology field.
Forensic pathologist Erik Mitchell says Parcells’ education and experience qualifies him as nothing more than a morgue attendant. After the St. Louis Post-Dispatch article was written the blog “Pathology Blawg” wrote about Parcells and seems to have caught him inflating his curriculum vitae slightly more than just a bit. Parcells responded to that blog post and the Pathology Blawg folks put it up for all to see.
Parcells seems to think that just because some courts have considered him “qualified” as an expert he doesn’t need much else. The person who brought this story to our attention tells us it really is not that hard to baffle a judge with bullshit and an inflated resume and have him/her say you are an expert. Once you get one judge to allow your testimony you build on that by telling the next judge, “Judge Thomas “Felon’s Friend” Hughston let me testify as an expert. In all likelihood, the next judge will, too. Our source suggested any prosecutor who had a case in which this guy was allowed to testify should have someone infinitely more qualified review his conclusions.
You know, someone should have told the crew down at MUSC who does the forensic autopsies they really didn’t need to spend a quarter of a million dollars for that medical degree so they could do forensic autopsies.
We reached out to a couple of defense attorneys and two prosecutors in South Carolina. Each of them told us after a quick Google search on Parcells there was no way they would ever use him as an “expert” witness in court.
Anyone else out there think that Parcells attempt to achieve glory in this case probably just cost him his business and what tiny shred of credibility he may have had left?