High court to hear scent evidence appeal

* Originally published November 5, 2009 at 4:45 p.m., updated November 5, 2009 at 4:50 p.m.

The Criminal Court of Appeals agreed Wednesday to evaluate the use of scent lineups in a criminal trial.

Richard Lynn Winfrey Sr. was convicted in 2007 of murdering a Willow Springs man. The evidence against him included scent lineups performed by Fort Bend County Deputy Keith Pikett.

An appellate court upheld Winfrey's conviction earlier this year.

The Court of Criminal Appeals will consider two questions, according to court records:

Whether the scent evidence is legally sufficient to uphold a guilty verdict.

Whether the appellate court properly evaluated the limitations of scent identification lineups.

"We're actually very surprised and excited," said Whitney Stark, communications director for the Innocence Project of Texas. The group published a report in September condemning the use of scent lineups in Texas courts.

"Hopefully this will be a turning point in the use of dog-scent evidence," she said.

The appellant's briefs in the case are due Dec. 4, according to the court's schedule.

No comments: