Wednesday, October 14, 2015

On bite marks and false confessions

Two emerging innocence issues in the news in Texas this week:

Bite marks
Steven Chaney, the man whose bite mark case recently spawned a review by the Forensic Science Commission, saw a Dallas judge recommend habeas corpus relief this week and was released on bond pending a decision by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. His attorneys have also alleged prosecutorial misconduct. He was convicted in 1989. See also a Dallas News editorial, "Freedom for a prisoner of bad science." A fun tidbit: "The conclusion of Chaney’s challenge was so foregone that the judge went out beforehand and purchased a pie to give him upon his release Monday."

False confessions
On Friday, Dateline NBC will feature the story of Daniel Villegas, the El Pasoan convicted at 16 who spent 18 years in prison based on a false confession. See Nate Blakeslee's coverage from Texas Monthly last year, and also prior Grits coverage. See also an NPR story out this week titled, "Why are kids more likely to give false confessions?"


Anonymous said...

GFB: Thanks for reporting. This is unbelievable.

Anonymous said...

That Chaney story literally made me cry. Thanks Grits.