Rivera appeal to be argued today

August 22, 2011

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Oral arguments are scheduled for this morning in the appeal of Juan Rivera.  He's been convicted three times for the 1992 rape and murder of an 11-year old girl.  The third trial was ordered when semen taken from the deceased victim didn't match his DNA.

Rivera was excluded as the source of the DNA, but prosecutors went forward with the case anyway.  They argued the DNA sample could have been contaminated in the lab, or perhaps the 11-year-old victim had had consensual sex with someone other than the killer sometime shortly before she was raped and murdered.  Their evidence relied heavily on a confession Rivera gave them.

But Rivera's attorneys point out he gave several confessions which contradicted each other and the confessions also had factual inaccuracies that didn't match the crime scene or other evidence.  They say Rivera has an IQ of 79 and was subjected to long interrogations.  They're asking the appeals court to throw out Rivera's conviction and set him free, or at the very least grant him a new, fourth trial.