Dr. Michael McGee is being told to make adjustments in how he does his job after a judge found his testimony in a murder trial was "false or incorrect."
The Ramsey County Attorney has a vested interest in making sure McGee is a credible witness. After all, his testimony can be crucial for getting a murder conviction. If McGee develops a reputation for making mistakes, the state may soon find itself facing plenty of prisoners seeking new trials.
"We've come to the conclusion that we do have faith and confidence in Dr. McGee," said Ramsey County Attorney John Choi.
Choi's office did a review of McGee's handling of the Michael Hansen murder case in Douglas County. McGee testified that Hansen killed his 3-month-old daughter by fracturing her skull. After 6 years in prison, experts reviewed the evidence and found the child had actually suffocated from sleeping face-down in a squishy bed. Hansen was released last autumn.
Though Choi's office seems prepared to forgive McGee for the lapse, Hansen says he would have taken a different tack.
"I'd tell him to quit his job," said Hansen, who said he is outraged that the county isn't taking a harder line.
Still, McGee is being told to alter his workflow. Choi says he now wants McGee to consult other outside experts when investigating similar child deaths and said McGee should be more active in the state's community of medical examiners.
The FOX 9 Investigators found McGee rarely attends the annual conference where experts share knowledge, and have also reported on other murder cases where McGee has been accused of getting it wrong. The county attorney didn't review any of those cases.
The most recent county review was performed by a lawyer, not another forensic pathologist who would have been able to check whether McGee's work is grounded in sound science.
"It was not a scientific inquiry. It was a legal inquiry," Choi explained.
Nevertheless, Choi says there's no reason for the county board to take any action to sever its contract with McGee.
McGee said he'll give strong consideration to the recommendations in the county attorney's report.