North Carolina case review raises questions about misconduct in identification procedure
The City of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, released a police department review of an assault case this week – which identified possible misconduct by police and prosecutors leading to a man’s conviction 10 years ago. When the victim in the case was shown a photo lineup, she failed to identify the man who was later convicted. That lineup was videotaped and a transcript of the video was prepared before his trial. The transcript, prepared by police, does not include the photo lineup – and the man’s defense attorney says the video he was shown also excluded the lineup. A prosecutor on the case claimed that she showed the entire videotape to defense attorneys, and the prosecutor also filed a notice with the trial court saying that the transcript summarized the entire video.
Attorneys for Kalvin Michael Smith, who is serving a 22-year sentence for an assault he says he did not commit, have alleged that defense attorneys at trial were not aware that the witness had actually identified another person in the photo lineup. The review, conducted by the Winston-Salem Police Department, found that Detective Don Williams videotaped the photo lineup but then prepared a transcript of the video and failed to include the lineup in his transcript. In the review, Assistant District Attorney Mary Jean Behan claims that, regardless of the transcript, she showed the entire video (including portions that show the victim identifying another man instead of Smith) to Smith’s defense attorney. Smith’s defense attorney, William Speaks, recently signed an affidavit saying that he never saw the photo lineup on video and was never told about the photo lineup. A year later, after Smith had already been charged with the assault, Detective Williams again interviewed the victim and conducted a photo lineup; she identified Smith, but that interview was not recorded.
, who served 18 years after he was wrongfully convicted of a Winston-Salem murder and rape.
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