David J. Krajicek
August 23, 2013
The report’s narrative included several mentions of Hastings’s alleged use of various narcotics, apparently based largely upon comments from the brother who was attempting to intervene.
But another Hastings family member told WhoWhatWhy that the coroner’s report was “irresponsible.” The family member said via email, “The LAPD has done a really sloppy job investigating his case, and they were hoping for a mother lode of drugs in his system. When they didn’t get it in the toxicology lab results (science!), they had to insert speculation throughout their field report to compensate for their lack of an investigation. It’s so irresponsible.”
Dr. Ribe, who signed Hastings’s autopsy report, has been on the L.A. County coroner’s staff for more than 25 years. Like many big-city pathologists, he has been involved in a number of high-profile cases and controversies.
But Ribe is the rare coroner whose credibility has been officially called into question by a panel of judges.
In 2003, a California appeals court dismissed a murder conviction because prosecutors had failed to disclose to the defense that Ribe, a trial witness, had “credibility problems” and “a history of changing his testimony,” according to an account in the Los Angeles Times.
The ruling cited five instances in which Ribe changed his findings in homicide cases.
In addition, Ribe was involved in a controversy concerning the 2005 death of Eliza Jane Scovill, age 3. The coroner ruled that the child died of AIDS. Her mother, Christine Maggiore, is an HIV-positive activist–and a controversial figure in her own right–who has vehemently questioned Ribe’s ruling on the cause of death.
This article was posted: Friday, August 23, 2013 at 2:49 pm