The Winston-Salem City Council met for about an hour and 15 minutes in closed session this evening to discuss the case of Kalvin Michael Smith, a local man who was convicted in the brutal beating of Jill Marker based on what many consider to be a deeply flawed police investigation that overlooked key evidence, coached testimony by a witness who has since recanted and an inappropriate interview with the brain-damaged victim.
Smith has been incarcerated for almost 15 years while steadfastly proclaiming his innocence. He has a habeas corpus appeal pending in federal court. The council is considering whether to intervene in the legal process in some manner.
The Rev. Kelly Carpenter, co-chair of the Silk Plant Forest Truth Committee, urged the council to file an amicus brief, also known as a friend-of-the-court brief stating that a new trial is in order.
“We ask you to convey to the court that you have no confidence in the investigation that resulted in the jury verdict in this case,” Carpenter said, “and that you believe the resulting injustice can only be remedied by a new trial.
“For those of you that understand the facts, do not let this get watered down by legalese,” he added.
The council emerged from closed session at about 9:45 p.m., but took no action on the matter. Mayor Allen Joines said council plans to go into closed session again on Aug. 6 with City Attorney Angela Carmon “at which time we hope to move forward.