Lopez's story reflects a broader controversy. Increasing numbers of doctors and other experts are questioning the reliability of the science used to prosecute cases of fatal child abuse and sexual assault. In Canada and the U.S. at least 23 people who were wrongly accused of killing children based on flawed or biased work by forensic pathologists have been cleared over the last 15 years.Related: TX conviction overturned because of failure to challenge junk science in child death case.
The Texas court's ruling set the stage for Lopez to be released Friday on a $10,000 bond. His release order bars him from initiating contact with children, though he is allowed to spend time with his three children. It also requires him to wear an electronic monitoring anklet and to abide by a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew.
At his parents' home on the outskirts of Amarillo, Lopez celebrated the events and holidays he missed during his long confinement. The family even put up a Christmas tree.
Tuesday, March 06, 2012
Christmas in March for Amarillo man freed due to flawed forensics in child death
In a story earlier featured on PBS Frontline, NPR, and ProPublica, which brings the latest news, Ernie Lopez returned home to Amarillo yesterday after the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals invalidated his conviction because his defense attorney did not call expert witnesses to invalidate the science underlying his conviction for child sexual assault. The CCA "didn't absolve Lopez, but said there was a 'reasonable probability' that he would have been acquitted had his attorneys countered the medical evidence arrayed against him." Says ProPubica: