The cases of Clinton Lee Young and Marcellus Williams share many similarities. From their original arrests, through their trials, and during their abounding appeals, both Mr. Young’s and Mr. Williams’ cases have raised questions as to the validity of their convictions.
Both found themselves on Death-Row: Mr. Young, in Texas and Mr. Williams, in Missouri. Both narrowly avoided executions this year. Mr. Williams’ stay of execution came with barely 4 hours to spare, on August. 22 of this year. Mr. Young, set for execution on October. 26, was afforded the luxury of 8 days before his execution was to take place.
In the case of Clinton Young, The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals issued an order remanding Mr. Young’s case to the trial court. The order centred around ‘false and misleading testimony [that] was introduced at his trial’ which has lead to a due process violation regarding Mr. Young. The reasons cited for the stay of execution were due to ‘last minute Application for Writ of Habeas Corpus filed by the Federal Public Defender’s Office for the Central District of California.’
Co-Counsel to Mr. Young, and Deputy Public Federal Defender, Margaret A. Farrand informed Be The Rain this week of Mr. Young’s progress. ‘There is no date set yet for an evidentiary hearing.’ Ms. Farrand told us. ‘We anticipate that a hearing date will be set some time in the next few months.’
Ms. Farrand will be joined by her Co-Counsels, Ms. Margo Rocconi and Mr. Joseph Trigilio for an Evidentiary Hearing that is likely to predominantly involve testimony by Mr. David Page.
Mr. Page’s testimony has continued to change over the years following both his and Mr. Young’s conviction for the murder of Samuel Petrey in 2001. Sworn affidavits from 4 previously incarcerated men told of Mr. Page’s “Boast in prison that he had committed the December 2001 murder and had pinned it on Young.”
On December. 18, the day of Mr. Young’s stay, Co-Counsel, Margo Rocconi said; “We are confident the court will conclude Page lied under oath to save himself, and that our client is innocent of the crime that put him on death-row.”
This evidence, combined with new scientific evidence that a pair of gloves worn during the shooting and covered with gunshot residue were in fact worn by Mr. Page, offer hope to Mr. Young and his supporters.
News regarding Mr. Williams, sentenced to death for the murder of Lisha Gayle in August of 2001 is yet to be heard. Missouri Governor Eric Greitens, set a Board of Inquiry to consider DNA reports by both Dr. Greg Hampikian and Dr. Norah Rudin excluding Mr. Williams from the murder weapon that was found still embedded in Ms. Gayle.
“A sentence of death is the ultimate, permanent punishment,” offered Gov Greitens. “To carry out the death penalty, the people of Missouri must have confidence in the judgment of guilt.”
Be The Rain contacted Dr. Hampikian in relation to progress, or lack of, in Mr. Williams’ case.
“I can tell you that I have not heard anything.” Dr. Hampikian informed us. “Thanks for your continued investigative work. The 4th Estate Keeps Us Free.”
Dr. Hampkian’s reference to the term ‘The 4th Estate’, often attributed to Edmund Burke, resonates powerfully. Especially in matters of politics and law.
The 4th Estate’s roll in raising awareness, and keeping the public informed is paramount. Too often in matters pertaining to law, the trail runs cold. A stay of execution, whilst welcomed, is only one step in the process of discovery to possibly exposing error in legal rulings. In the case of Mr. Williams, Gov. Greitens decision to hold a Board of Inquiry was just that: One step.
Mr. Kent Gipson’s (Co-Counsel for Mr. Williams) affirmation to Be The Rain earlier this week that there was, “Nothing to report. The board has not yet done anything to get the proceeding started.” is a warning sign that the people directly involved in Mr. Williams’ appeal know no more than the general public.
Whilst Mr. Williams stay occurred ‘only’ 15 weeks ago, the likelihood of hearing any further news before the end of 2017 seems unlikely. Attempts to garner comment from Gov. Greitens have so far proven unsuccessful.
In the week leading up to Mr. Williams’ scheduled execution, public outcry through social media, and a petition requesting his stay saw him trending on twitter and receiving over 270,000 signatures. A mere matter of months following, and trying to find any news on the progress of the Board of Inquiry is proving onerous.
The importance of maintaining both Mr. Young’s and Mr. Williams’ progress in the spotlight cannot be understated.
Although Speculation, 2018 looks likely to see an increase in stays of execution as well as exposure in wrongful convictions. Public scrutiny aided by sections of the media, invested in promoting possible miscarriages of justice are well known to parties that hold the power to assess such miscarriages. However, as said previously, the formation of Boards of Inquiries or Conviction Integrity Units are only virile if they are implemented. Whilst the public should applaud their creation, they must in turn demand their application.
Be The Rain is committed to keeping you up to date on the progress of both Mr. Young’s and Mr. Williams’ cases amongst others. Please feel free to contact us regarding any questions or queries relating to these cases and indeed any others that you feel merit our attention.
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