Courts are unprepared for this: The Conundrum of Outdated #Forensic Science and Recanting Experts

From the Marshall Project 5.28.15

In the spring of 2013, the Texas Legislature passed a law that was hailed as the first of its kind in the country. The law expressly allows the state’s Court of Criminal Appeals to grant a new trial in cases where the underlying forensic science is flawed. Throughout the U.S., scandals at crime labs and the discrediting of forensic methods from arson  to hair matching to dog-scents  have led to legal battles over whether the defendants in such cases could have their convictions overturned. With the 2013 law, Texas lawmakers said they could.

Lawyers dubbed an appeal of this sort a “Junk Science Writ.” “In the other 49 states without a Junk Science Writ, freeing an innocent person wrongfully convicted by faulty forensics remains an obstacle,” Mark Godsey, director of the Ohio Innocence Project, wrote.  This past January, a similar law was passed in California. [in response to a bitemark case also described here. Wm Richards PPT-Bjerkhoel-AAFS]

Full Marshall Project article. 




About csidds

Dr. Michael Bowers is a long time forensic consultant in the US and international court systems.
This entry was posted in exoneration, Exoneration costs, William Richards Exoneration Case, wrongful convictions. Bookmark the permalink.

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