The California Supreme Court refused to overturn the conviction of William Richards, 63, even though the forensic evidence used to convict him of murdering his wife has been discredited. Richards, who is serving a life sentence, was convicted using a bite mark found on the hand of the victim. Originally, a forensic dentist testified that the mark matched Richards’ teeth and only 2% of the general population would match. However, lawyers from the California Innocence Project hired new experts to re-evaluate the evidence ten years later and with enhanced technology, the clearer picture ruled out Richards as the source of the mark.
However, the California Supreme Court ruled Monday that Richards had not proven his innocence. In the 4-3 decision, the majority stated that Richards failed to prove that the bite mark testimony was false because “experts still could not definitively rule out [his] teeth as a possible source of the mark.” The dissent noted that three out of four experts ruled out Richards and the fourth declined to give an opinion.
The ruling adds another obstacle in the path to exoneration because it effectively raises the bar for overturning convictions based on faulty scientific evidence.
Read the full article here.