U.S. Supreme Court orders Texas to reconsider execution of man convicted of false DNA evidence

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The U.S. Supreme Court has ordered the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to reconsider its decision to execute a death row inmate, although prosecutors now agree that his conviction should be overturned because it was based on potentially flawed DNA evidence.

In 2011, Areli Escobar was convicted of the rape and murder of 17-year-old Bianca Maldonado. In 2020, a county court judge ruled that Escobar deserved a new trial because his conviction was largely based on “scientifically unreliable” DNA evidence analyzed by the Travis County Lab, which was later closed due to untrained staff and improper procedures. testing.

In 2016, the Austin Police Department was forced to close its crime lab after the Texas Medical Examiner’s Board discovered widespread problems with its DNA testing.

On appeal to the Court of Criminal Appeals, Travis County District Attorney Jose Garza agreed with Escobar that he should have a new trial. However, the state’s highest criminal court upheld Escobar’s conviction, finding that he “failed to prove that the general flaws found in [Texas Forensic Science Commission] the audit particularly affected the results of the DNA analysis in his particular case.”

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