Local law school helps free wrongly convicted man

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SAN DIEGO -- Bill Richards was released from prison Tuesday after spending 23 years in custody for a crime he did not commit.

Richards was convicted of murdering his wife in 1993 after three separate trials.

Following his conviction, Richards wrote a letter to California Western School of Law's Innocence Project, asking it to look into his case. It did take on the case, and after years of trying to exonerate Richards, an expert witness finally admitted he made a mistake. This admission led to a judge reversing Richards' conviction seven years ago.

But the California Supreme Court ordered Richards stay in prison because of a law that ruled expert witness testimony could not be deemed wrong.

In 2014, lawyers for the Innocence Project got the state of California to change the law and Richards was ultimately set free this week when the District Attorney's office in San Bernardino County agreed to drop the case.

A day later, Richards met with some of the people who helped set him free at California Western School of Law in downtown San Diego.

"I thought I was going home and having pizza that night and seven years later, I finally walked out of that courtroom. The law has changed and I’m proud of that," said Richards.

Richards admitted he's not sure about his future, saying he is "broke and homeless" and will probably move out of California and maybe restart his engineering career.

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