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The Source: Bad Science Law Goes To Court

Flickr/SalFalko (CC BY-NC 2.0) http://bit.ly/2HJ1qxP

  A law allowing those convicted of a crime with bad science sees its greatest challenge in the courtroom. Today the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals hears arguments in the case of Neal Robbins, who was convicted in 1999 of murdering a 17-month-old child.

Even then, ruling the death a murder was challenged by others working in the field. The defense brought Deputy Chief Medical Examiner for Bexar County Dr. Robert Bux to the stand, who testified that there was insufficient forensic evidence to rule the child's death a murder. Harris County Medical Examiner Patricia Moore later recanted her testimony, saying she now believed the evidence was inconclusive.

The appeals court's ruling could have dramatic implications for the scope of the law, and will determine if Robbins is allowed to get a retrial.

How could different interpretations impact this groundbreaking law? What is it like for medical examiners who are trying to apply the changing methods of forensic science?


  • Brian Wice, Neal Robbins' defense attorney
  • Dr. Robert Bux, elected coroner for El Paso county, Colorado

*This is the first segment in the March 19 edition of The Source, which airs at 3 p.m. on KSTX 89.1 FM -- audio from this show will be posted by 5:30 p.m.

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Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org