This is absolutely excellent news, and I'm quite looking forward to hearing oral arguments in the case. As somebody who has frequently criticized the CCA, let me be the first to commend them for taking up this matter. For once, I'm proud of them for stepping up to the plate. It's pretty clear law enforcement won't stop on their own.
09-0987 WINFREY, RICHARD LYNN, SR., SAN JACINTO, MURDER
1. An important question implicating the administration of justice is presented by the Court of Appeals' reliance upon a dog scent lineup to sustain the legal sufficiency of the evidence without regard to the inherent limitations of such evidence.2. An important question implicating the administration of justice also is presented by the Court of Appeals' failure properly to evaluate the factual sufficiency of the evidence by addressing the inherent limitations of dog scent lineup evidence.
Meanwhile, the Houston Chronicle today has coverage of the three new civil lawsuits challenging dog scent testimony. And Jacob Sullum of Reason addresses the myth of the infallible police dog.
It's the judiciary's job to keep unreliable forensics out of the courtroom, but until now the CCA treated the issue as a task for the Legislature or some other body. (For example, the court's Criminal Justice Integrity Unit called on the Lege to reform eyewitness ID practices among police, but the court could easily require such changes themselves if they cared to do so.) Perhaps dog scent lineups will be the watershed moment when the court realizes it needs to more seriously vet unreliable forensics and can't just rely on old precedents approving invalid science.
UPDATE: Via the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Blog, "Here's a link to the court of appeals opinion (published). Here's a link to the court of appeals info."