When Justice Scalia was found dead last Saturday at Cibolo Creek Ranch near Marfa, Texas, authorities sprang into action. They soon learned that the two county justices of the peace, whose job includes acting as the county coroner, were out of town. They reached another official, Presidio County Judge Cinderela Guevara, who pronounced Justice Scalia dead, over the phone, based on information communicated by those at the ranch. She then had to determine whether to call for an autopsy. After speaking with local and federal law enforcement and, later in the day, Justice Scalia’s personal physician, she was apparently satisfied that no autopsy was warranted, particularly because there was no evidence of foul play.
Former death investigator Joseph Scott Morgan is troubled that, at least according to what is publicly known, a limited examination did not occur. Morgan, who spent more than 20 years investigating deaths in Louisiana and Georgia, and authored a memoir about his career, believes that, at a minimum, a thorough external examination should have been done, together with collection of bodily fluids for testing. If nothing else, that would put to rest conspiracy theorists.
“Cases like this show you need a solid system. He was found dead; it was not a witnessed death. That is very troubling to me,” he told LawNewz.com.