Meeting in closed session, the justices decided unanimously Wednesday to hear a challenge by William Richards, who was found guilty of murdering his wife, Pamela, in 1991. The state’s high court examined Richards’ case in 2012 and refused to overturn his conviction. In response to that 4-3 decision, the Legislature passed a bill that said discredited forensic testimony amounts to false evidence and can be grounds for a new trial. The California Innocence Project asked the court to reconsider Richards’ case in light of the new law.Wrongful bitemark evidence now considered false evidence - and a new trial Click To Tweet
Richards, 65, was tried three times. Juries deadlocked in the first two trials. In the third, a dental expert testified that a lesion on the Pamela’s body was a bite mark that matched Richard’s unusual tooth pattern. The jury convicted. The expert later recanted, saying he had been mistaken. Two of the justices who voted against Richards in 2012 are no longer on the court. In a brief order, the court asked the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to respond to Richards’ challenge.
You can read more about the details of this case on our detailed case page here and there is a great NPR piece here that explains a little more: