California Supreme Court reverses 1993 conviction of Cristina Bordé's client, Vicente Benavides

Bordé has worked for 19 years to prove his innocence

The conviction of Vicente Figueroa Benavides, a California man who served nearly 25 years on death row, was overturned last Monday.

Cristina Bordé

UW Law School’s Cristina Bordé has represented Benavides in post-conviction proceedings since 1999. She began working on his case while serving as senior habeas counsel at the San Francisco-based Habeas Corpus Resource Center.

In a rare decision, the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled that Benavides’s 1993 convictions for murder and rape were based on false evidence that was "extensive, pervasive and impactful."

Prosecutors in the original trial relied on expert medical testimony to convict Benavides. Today, most of the experts who testified against him have recanted.

In a statement released by the Habeas Corpus Resource Center, Benavides’s attorneys say: “We are pleased that the Supreme Court has reversed Mr. Benavides’s conviction and death sentence. Mr. Benavides has spent over 24 years on death row and has steadfastly maintained his innocence. We are hopeful that the Kern County District Attorney will dismiss all charges against our client soon after the Supreme Court’s decision becomes final.”

Bordé says she and Benavides's co-counsel will refrain from further comment until the case is final.

Read the California Supreme Court’s March 12 decision.


Submitted by Law School News on March 20, 2018

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