Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Gary Alvin Richard convicted on faulty forensics.

The articles first, then comments.

False forensic testimony in Gary Alvin Richard's case.

What if the perpertrator of a crime is the criminal justice system? What if the crime lab that judges, juries, and lawyers rely on is the entity that fails you?

Gary Alvin Richard’s lawyer says that is exactly the case and this is not the first time the Houston crime lab has been faulted for faulty forensics and now false testimony. These false and faulty actions helped secure his conviction his lawyer maintains and he wants Mr. Richards released from prison. Mr. Richard is now 53-yrs-old and has served 22-yrs so far for rape and robbery. Both Mr. Richards lawyer and prosecutors agree that tests completed Friday show that an HPD analyst misled jurors at his trial and this individual also failed to report evidence that could have helped him. Based on these tests, both sides will ask a judge next week to release Mr. Richard on bond while they sort out the rest of the details.

“This is a new chapter, among many, of mistakes that were made, of sloppy work at the crime lab.” “Most troubling are the results that were not passed on to people who needed them.”
-Bob Wicoff, Richard’s lawyer.

If Mr. Richard is exonerated, this will be the fourth case cleared due to faulty work by the HPD crime lab. Richard’s case is receiving new scrutiny because of a massive review of cases with problematic HPD blood-typing evidence. The review started in October 2007, days after DNA evidence cleared Ronald Taylor of sexual assault in a case where HPD analysts performed faulty tests on body-fluid evidence, known as serology, a precursor to DNA testing.

Wicoff is leading the review of some 160 cases that an independent investigator identified as having problematic serology tests. Richard’s case is the first in that group to prompt a claim of actual innocence.

Comment: Once again we see a case where law enforcement was so eager to convict, that false testimony was accepted, and exculpatory evidence witheld from the defense. Something to keep in mind the next time you hear "rapes aren't reported because the woman won't be believed."


Texas man likely to be freed after 22 years.

A Texas man who spent 22 years in prison for a rape that forensic tests now suggest he did not commit is expected to be freed.

Gary Alvin Richard is likely to be released Thursday after prosecutors and his defense attorney ask a judge to set him free on bail.

Lawyers will then weigh what to do with Richard's case.

Defense attorney Bob Wicoff says the new tests based on blood-typing prove Richard's innocence. Prosecutors agree the results contradict crime lab evidence but say they do not know if Richard is innocent.

If cleared, Richard - who is serving a life sentence for a 1987 rape - would be the fourth Harris County man to have his conviction overturned because of faulty forensics from the Houston crime lab.

Comment: If the blood typing doesn't match, based on the DNA recovered, how is it that the prosecution can say they "do not know if Richard is innocent"? It would be refreshing, just once, to see someone say that "hey, this was a mistake. We are working to correct that mistake, as much as we are able, and hope to free the falsely convicted quickly."