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Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Doesn’t Trust Dogs – or at least, Dog Scent Evidence

James Bond, Quincy, and Clue are three bloodhounds, reportedly trained by now-retired Texas cop Keith Pikett, who retired this year. You remember bloodhounds — they all look just like Jed Clampett’s dog Duke on the old “Beverly Hillbillies” TV show.  Cute, right?

Well, retired law enforcement officer and dog trainer Pikett has been sued in three lawsuits (reports are there may be more) where the convicted men are alleging that Pikett’s professional sniffing dogs made a mistake, sniffing a link between each of the accused and crimes for which they are innocent.  The reputation of James Bond, Quincy, and Clue have therefore been called into question by these law suits against their trainer.

In fact, James Bond, Quincy, and Clue have lost so much credibility at this point that the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals — you know, the one where Chief Justice Sharon Keller presides — has just ruled that convicted murderer Richard Winfrey Sr., wins his appeal.

It seems that Mr. Winfrey was sentenced to 75 years in prison for stabbing someone to death (the victim was found to have 28 stab wounds), and back in 2004, the key evidence against Mr. Winfrey were the noses of James Bond, Quincy, and Clue — who sniffed Winfrey’s smell on the stabbing victim’s clothes.

According to the Keller Court, the most that the bloodhounds could do was provide “suspicion of guilt,” but the conclusion of dog noses alone isn’t enough to convict a man of murder.  

Geez, wonder why it took until now, after investigation and trial and appeals all the way to the highest criminal court in the state, for someone to ponder whether the State of Texas had met its burden of proof in this case?  (Read more about the scant evidence here.)

Is the entire Texas Criminal Justice System just going to the dogs?

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