California Man's Case Prompts New Law on Expert Testimony

A new state law is giving hope to attorneys for a California man who maintains his innocence nearly 20 years after he was convicted of killing his wife.

The law, which took effect in January, makes it easier for defendants to get their convictions thrown out when experts later repudiate their trial testimony.

It was inspired by the case of 65-year-old William Richards, who was convicted of murder in 1997 in the strangling of his wife after a San Bernardino County jury heard an expert testify that a mark on her hand was consistent with the defendant's teeth.

The expert later said the injury might not even be a bite mark.

Before the law was passed, the California Supreme Court ruled the change in testimony was not grounds for tossing Richards' conviction. His attorneys are asking the court to reconsider.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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