X-Message-Number: 46
From arpa!Xerox.COM!merkle.pa Fri Dec 16 15:18:53 PST 1988
Received: from Cabernet.ms by ArpaGateway.ms ; 16 DEC 88 15:18:42 PST
Date: Fri, 16 Dec 88 15:18:53 PST
Subject: Coroners in the Wall Street Journal (CRYONICS)
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Status: R

The Wall Street Journal (Friday, December 16, 1988, the front page, left
hand column) had an article titled "Deadly Job:  Local Coroners' Lack of
Forensic Training Raises Issues of Fitness",  then below that, "Low Pay and
Small Budgets Help Compound Problem of Botched Murder Cases".  

Some random quotes from the article:  "Coroners and medical examiners play
a critical role in criminal cases and insurance proceedings, but they
frequently lack training in forensics -- the scientific investigation of
crime."  "Although individual coroners such as Thomas Noguchi of Los
Angeles and the late Milton Helpern of New York City have had reputations
as outstanding forensic pathologists, county coroners are usually elected
officials without specific training in the field.  They have backgrounds as
anything from auto mechanics to ear, nose and throat specialists.  They are
often poorly paid part-timers."

The article goes on to give specific examples of improperly trained
coroners who either (a) allowed a murderer to go free or (b) caused an
innocent person to be locked up by mishandling the case.  Typically, the
coroner would destroy or misinterpret evidence that was critical to
properly solving a crime.  The Riverside coroner was not among their

[ The Coroner of Riverside County, California is an elected official and,
  as for the competence of the people in his office, the article "Keystone
  Coroners" in the Oct. 1988 issue of Cryonics provides some important insight.
  I will post a summary of that article in a few days. - Kevin Q. Brown ]

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