Dr. David Fowler was an effective witness for Chauvin, and now Maryland will review his work as the state’s Chief Medical Examiner looking for errors, as an open letter signed by fornensic colleagues call for his medical license to be investigated.
Derek Chauvin’s use-of-force expert, Barry Brodd, was targeted after his testimony. His former home, which the perps apparently assumed was still his, was Vandalized and Smeared With Pig’s Blood.
A different type of targeting now is directed at Chauvin’s forensic expert, Dr. David Fowler. You may recall that Fowler was a very effective witness, testifying that George Floyd had a sudden cardiac arrythmia due to atherosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease, during his restraint by the police.
Andrew Branca covered the testimony, Chauvin Trial Day 13 Wrap-Up: Solid Day for Defense With Forensic Expert Witness:
Today saw the testimony of only one witness, but it was a witness of great importance to the defense, and therefore one whose testimony the state would perceive as important to damage.
This was the defense medical expert witness Dr. David Fowler, a retired forensic pathologist.
To not bury the lead, Dr. Fowler did what the defense needed done today, and did it well. That’s not to say his performance was perfect—he took a few hits off Prosecutor Jerry Blackwell during cross-examination, and could have done better deflecting some of those attacks.
At the same time, however, Blackwell’s rather over the top cross-examination of Fowler was initially too aggressive for Judge Cahill’s liking, resulting in a rapid sidebar and a more restrained Blackwell moments later, and Blackwell’s resort to snark led him to overreach several times, providing opportunities for defense counter-attack that defense counsel Eric Nelson did not pass up.
So, overall, a good day for the defense today, when they very much needed one, especially after the weak performance of defense expert witness Barry Brodd yesterday.
Dr. Fowler now is being targetted professionally, in moves which I predict are intended to render him unable to be an expert witness ever again, and even a vindictive attempt to pull his medical license.
The Baltimore Sun reports:
The Maryland’s Attorney General’s Office said Friday it believes there should be a review of “in custody” death reports produced by the state’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner during the tenure of Dr. David Fowler, nine days after Fowler testified that an ex-Minneapolis police officer was not responsible for the death of George Floyd in police custody.
The announcement came less than 24 hours after the attorney general’s office received a letter from the former medical examiner of Washington, D.C., Roger A. Mitchell, signed by 431 doctors from around the country, saying Fowler’s testimony and conclusions were so far outside the bounds of accepted forensic practice that all his previous work could come into question.
“Dr. Fowler’s stated opinion that George Floyd’s death during active police restraint should be certified with an ‘undetermined’ manner is outside the standard practice and conventions for investigating and certification of in-custody deaths. This stated opinion raises significant concerns for his previous practice and management,” the letter said.
Attorney General Brian Frosh’s office said Friday afternoon that it agreed for the need to review Fowler’s work, and said it had been in contact with Gov. Larry Hogan’s staff.
“We agree that it is appropriate for independent experts to review reports issued by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) regarding deaths in custody,” Raquel Coombs, a spokeswoman for Frosh, said in an statement to The Baltimore Sun. “We are already in conversations with the Governor’s Office about the need for such a review, and have offered to coordinate it.”
So they are going to pour over his career, ostensibly to serve the interests of justice, but reality as we all understand, as punishment for testifying on behalf of a hated defendant. And make no mistake, the letter from forensic colleagues is a prelude to professional retribution:
We believe the unsubstantiated opinion that carbon monoxide exposure may have contributed to the death of George Floyd is far outside that standard and is grounds for an immediate investigation into the practices of the physician as well as the practice of the Maryland State Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) while under his leadership. In addition, Dr. Fowler’s stated opinion that George Floyd’s death during active police restraint should be certified with an “undetermined” manner is outside the standard practice and conventions for investigating and certification of in-custody deaths. This stated opinion raises significant concerns for his previous practice and management.
Among the demands are:
“Investigation into the medical license of David Fowler, MB, ChB.Med.Path for possible ethical violations associated with death in custody diagnosis.”
NPR reports that Fowler rejected the attacks:
Fowler has defended his record, telling the Baltimore Sun that he was not solely responsible for autopsy conclusions as he worked with a large team of forensic pathologists, and saying of a potential review that “people need to do what they need to do.”
“I stand behind the outstanding work that all of our dedicated staff at the Maryland State Medical Examiner’s Office performed during my tenure as the Chief ME,” he told The Washington Post in a statement.
Fowler also stood by his work in the Chauvin trial, explaining that his “opinion was formulated after the collaboration of thirteen other highly experienced colleagues in multiple disciplines” and that it “set an ethical standard for the work needed in sensitive litigation.”
Chauvin had two expert witnesses. Both were attacked outside the courtroom, one physically, the other professionally. It’s part of a pattern of intimidation that surrounded the Chauvin trial, and will carry over to the upcoming trials of the other officers present at the scene that day who are accused of aiding and abetting Chauvin.DONATE
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