A remarkably sad, infuriating and frustrating ordeal one man in California prison has experienced for 22 years is winding up in intensity. William Richards’ 1997 murder conviction in San Bernardino had been overturned by a habeas corpus hearing in 2010, but ultimately failed in the face of appeals by a recalitrant District Attorney’s Office bent on maintaining its zero stats on wrongful convictions [i.e the finality of conviction].
A core challenge on Richards’ appeal has been faulty and admittedly mistaken opinions of fact and certainty by a pair of forensic dentists.
New California law is now in place making the judicial system subject to considering real- time issues of forensic reform and faulty forensic trial testimony will soon be tested by the CA Supreme Court. Up to this point, Richards’ previous appeal efforts had been blanked out by the CA SC holding agreeing with the DA’s objections, considered by some as the ‘worst Supreme Court decision in 2012.’
Alissa Bjerkhoel is a staff attorney at the California Innocence Project and this is her presentation given at the 2013 American Academy of Forensic Sciences about William Richards’ decades long litigation. Beware: Actual crime science photos are within.