On Monday, the Supreme Court supported a Texas death row prisoner attempting to have his conviction overturned because of weak DNA evidence. In a rare reversal, the district attorney involved in the case agreed with the prisoner.
The justices agreed to hear the case in an unwritten order. Still, they also overturned the lower court’s ruling and returned the matter to it “for further review in light of the acknowledgment of error by Texas in its brief submitted” in September.
According to Steve Vladeck, a CNN Supreme Court expert, “the most disturbing thing about the court’s decision to send the case back for a fresh trial is that it was ever required in the first place.”
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals maintained the judgment and death sentence besides the state’s admission of error. Because of this, even though today’s judgment is correct, the lower court that compelled the Supreme Court to interfere has not received any public criticism.
Areli Carbajal Escobar’s attorneys requested that the Supreme Court overturn his conviction, while Travis County District Attorney Jose P. Garza submitted a brief in defense of the man he had attempted to imprison.
A state judge decided in Escobar’s favor, concluding that all DNA evidence discovered at the scene was “unreliable” due to “evidence management difficulties” in the lab utilized in the case.