Radley Balko at the Washington Post’s “The Watch” announces California Senate Bill (SB1048) intent to direct the courts to consider scientific progress and reject junk opinions of debunked forensic methods and prosecutorial bias favoring “finality of verdicts.” He speaks to the proven unreliability (and overbearing forensic experts) of certain forensic methods. The AAFS/ABFO might want to take a look.
This bill is directly related to the 1997 murder conviction (aided by a bitemark “identification”) of William Richards in “tough on crime” San Bernardino county. Years later, Richards’ final appeal to the CA Supreme Court was based on exculpatory DNA and the DA’s bitemark expert reversing his original trial opine that a “bitemark” and Richards’ teeth were seen in only “2 out of a 100” adult humans. There was also a defense bitemark expert in 1997 who is the past ABFO president. He also rejected his 1997 testimony saying an injury to the victim was a human bitemark. Now it is “probably” a dog bite. California’s Supreme Court thought otherwise.
====BELOW IS MORE INFORMATION ON THE RICHARDS CASE ====
An excellent PPoint presentation of Richards‘ case (with crime scene images) by Alissa Bjerkhoel.pdf of the California Innocence Project who represents Bill Richards.
Los Angeles Times article on the CA Supreme Court’s myopic view on what “innocence’ proofs” were lacking in the Richards appeal.
Here is my Richards OP-ED that was published last year in the California Digest (legal newspaper).Bowers_Op-Ed-William Richards