Thank you for making the right call to stay the scheduled execution of Marcellus Williams this week in light of his claim of innocence and the new DNA evidence not previously considered in his case. You could have delayed your stay to wait for a SCOTUS decision, but you displayed true leadership by making sure an innocent person was not put to death under your watch.
At one time, people believed that the police and prosecutors always got it right. But when DNA evidence came on the scene, the results showed us that innocent people can and do get caught up in the system. Each case involving DNA evidence has also been a learning opportunity regarding what factors contribute to wrongful conviction.
The top 2 contributing causes of wrongful conviction in death row exonerations between 2007 and April 2017 were official misconduct (in 82.4% of cases), and perjury or false accusation (in 76.5% of cases).
Williams' conviction depended largely on the testimony of two informants (both felons themselves) who came forward after learning of a $10,000 reward.
Since 1973 there have been 159 exonerations from death row in the United States - three have happened so far this year.
Witness to Innocence (WTI) is the only national organization in the United States composed of and led by exonerated death row survivors and their family members. We know first hand that innocent people are sent to death row.
Thank you for showing leadership on this matter.
Witness to Innocence members, family, and friends
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