Gish PLLC and the Innocence Project File Civil Rights Lawsuit on Behalf of Pro Bono Client Jocelyn McLean06/27/2022
Gish PLLC is serving as pro bono counsel for Jocelyn McLean, a mother who was wrongfully arrested, prosecuted for capital murder, and detained without bail for almost a year after the Mississippi Medical Examiner's Office falsely claimed that her 8-day-old daughter's death was a homicide. Along with a team that includes lawyers from the the Innocence Project and the Mississippi Center for Justice, Gish PLLC has filed a civil rights lawsuit in the Northern District of Mississippi against Tallahatchie County, MIssissippi, and several current and former Mississippi officials.
In September 2016, Ms. McLean prematurely gave birth to a baby girl, Emberly. Due to medical complications, Emberly was hospitalized at the University of Mississippi Medical Center for six days after her birth. A day after her release, her mother rushed Emberly to the nearby Tallahatchie General Hospital because she was not eating and was gasping for breath. After diagnosing Emberly with acute respiratory distress, medical personnel tried desperately to save her life with heroic medical interventions. The hospital staff was joined in the effort by the emergency flight team from Memphis Le Bonheur Children’s Medical Center, which had been summoned to airlift her for specialized treatment. Tragically, this extensive effort was in vain and Emberly died at Tallahatchie Hospital four hours after her arrival.
As detailed in Ms. McLean's Complaint, despite the written evidence of extensive medical interventions, the Mississippi Medical Examiner's Office concluded that Emberly died of "blunt force injuries with features of strangulation.” On the eve of Ms. McLean's trial, former Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Dr. J. Brent Davis recanted that prior conclusion, asserting that it was contradicted by Emberly's medical records (which he claimed to have just received for the first time years after Emberly's death). By that time, Ms. McLean had spent 11 months in jail, and years under pre-trial monitoring, all the while with the cloud of a capital murder prosecution hanging over her.
Ms. McLean’s civil rights lawsuit is based on violations of her constitutional rights to be free from false arrest and fabricated evidence, as well as state law claims for malicious prosecution and intentional infliction of emotional distress. She alleges that if it were not for these unconstitutional and unlawful actions, she would never have been arrested and charged with capital murder. The Case Number is 3:22-cv-00033-DPJ-FKB (N.D. Miss.).