Ramsey County Attorney discusses review of former medical examiner Dr. Michael McGee's work

Dr. Michael McGee served as Ramsey County's Medical Examiner from 1985 to 2019, but now his work is being put under the microscope.

"I think you could characterize it as unfortunate," said Ramsey County Attorney John Choi.

Choi started looking at McGee's work last year after a federal judge called McGee's conclusions and testimony regarding the cause of Dru Sjodin's death "unreliable, misleading, and inaccurate" during Alfonso Rodriquez's appeal of his death sentence for Sjodin's murder.

Choi says his office identified 216 cases where McGee was listed as a prosecution witness, meaning he did the autopsy, going all the way back to the 80s.

An outside consulting firm, the Prosecutor's Center For Excellence helped whittle that number down to 71 cases for further analysis.

"What we're going to be doing is we're going to be looking at the entire medical examiner file for those cases. We're going to look at our own case files and we're looking at trial transcripts if necessary, and if those cases actually were presented to a jury," said Choi.

This isn't the first time flaws have been found in McGee's work.

The FOX 9 Investigators raised questions about McGee's role in convicting Thomas Rhodes of murdering his wife Jane, after she fell overboard and drowned during a nighttime boat ride in Spicer, Minnesota.

He was accused of beating her, but Rhodes maintained his innocence over the years.

"Nothing like that happened. There was no contact between myself and my wife that night," said Rhodes during a FOX 9 investigation. 

On Friday, the Minnesota Attorney General's Office vacated Rhodes' murder conviction in Jane's death, saying McGee's testimony has been scrutinized by the courts over the last 20 years.

"It's not my job not to protect conviction at all costs. It's my job to actually do the right thing, to do justice, and to figure out what the truth really is without fear or favor," said Choi.

Once the Prosecutor's Center For Excellence finishes this phase of its review, the organization will present its recommendations to Choi's office, and Choi says he'll take the next steps... wherever they lead him.

"I want the public to have trust and confidence in what happens in the criminal legal system as well as in their courts," said Choi.