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Whitmire's Senate Bill 344 is heading toward the Senate floor after committee approval last week.
new findings were not available during the trial.
Association, has not taken a position Omega Speedmaster Black Leather on the bill, leaving the decision to individual prosecutors. The Harris County district attorney's office, whose opposition doomed a similar bill in 2009, is unopposed after Whitmire agreed to minor wording changes, officials said.
Identical bills by Sen. John Whitmire and Rep.
As high profile exonerations continue to make headlines, the Texas Legislature is tackling bills that would give state courts direction on how to handle convictions based on questionable or discredited forensic science.
Courts have long struggled, with mixed results, to ensure that scientific testimony is valid and fairly presented at trial. But because science evolves, appellate courts have the added challenge of weighing whether convictions should be overturned when scientific consensus changes or experts repudiate their trial testimony.
During a Senate committee hearing last week, Houston defense lawyer Brian Wice urged senators to approve Whitmire's bill, saying it recognizes the critical role expert witnesses play in court.
Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Cathy Cochran noted the tension between the need for reliable verdicts and the "speed with which new science and revised scientific methodologies debunk what had formerly been thought of as reliable forensic science."
tomorrow's science sometimes changes and, based upon that changed science, the former verdict may look inaccurate, if not downright ludicrous."
"Expert witnesses have a special aura of believability and a mantle of credibility" that can sway juries, and state law must acknowledge that people can be "unfairly imprisoned based upon a change in the science or a change in the expert's knowledge," Wice said.
"The potential problem of relying on today's science in a criminal trial," Cochran wrote in a 2012 opinion, "is that Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 300
Similar bills failed in the 2009 and 2011 legislative sessions, but supporters hope the examples of Michael Morton and other exonerated inmates will add momentum.
With no physical evidence or witnesses tying Michael Morton to the crime, the testimony by then Travis County Medical Examiner Roberto Bayardo was by far the most persuasive evidence in the case, jurors said. But Bayardo recanted his testimony in 2011, acknowledging that modern pathology practices recognize that stomach contents alone cannot provide an accurate time of death.
Convictions based on bad science target of two bills
State law is explicit on how the courts must handle innocence claims based on DNA evidence, but judges have struggled when scientific advances call into question other types of evidence including signs of arson, gunshot residue and dog scent lineups used to obtain a conviction.
The state's leading group for prosecutors, the Texas District and County Attorneys Omega Leather Strap Speedmaster
A jury, if presented with the findings, would be unlikely to convict the defendant.
Morton was freed from prison in 2011 after DNA tests pointed to another man, Mark Alan Norwood, in the 1986 beating death of Morton's wife, Christine, in their Williamson County home. Norwood's capital murder trial in her death begins this week.
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