Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom
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Rolling Stone- Will Texas Execute an Innocent Man?

February 10 2020

For two decades, Rob Will has been on death row for the murder of a cop. But activists say there is enough additional evidence to save him.


Lots of folks think Will isn’t guilty and that his appeals were big-time botches; he is slated to be featured on an upcoming episode of Dr. Phil (much like fellow Texas death-row inmate Rodney Reed recently was, which helped Reed get an indefinite stay of execution). As for Will himself, he says he spends his days painting, reading, writing, meditating, practicing yoga, and trying not to let the babblings of the nearby “schizophrenic” get to him.


The friendly, wisecracking guard at Polunsky’s front gate knows all about Will from his years on the floor and has nothing but good things to say.


“Near as I can recall,” he says, “he’s been no trouble at all.”


And then, with a smile, he sends you on your way, toward where Will has spent the past 18 years.

Houston Chronicle- Federal Judge Raises Questions of Innocence

October 3 2018

The gunshots screeched over the static of the police radio, followed by the last breaths of sheriff’s Deputy Barrett Hill. It was the dark, predawn hours of Dec. 4, 2000, and someone had just committed a capital murder. There were no eyewitnesses and no forensic evidence. But two years later, Rob Will was sentenced to die for the crime in front of a courtroom crowded with uniformed police officers.


Despite the circumstantial case that sent him to death row, Will has always maintained his innocence. His alibi? He says he was handcuffed at the time. Now, nearly two decades into the legal wrangling, a federal judge is again questioning whether Will may be telling the truth. In a rare, strongly worded order last week, U.S. District Judge Keith P. Ellison advanced the condemned cop killer’s appeal even as he bemoaned his own inability to do more in a case that experts say highlights systemic issues within the death penalty appeals process.


“The Court very much wishes it could take up all of these issues,” Ellison wrote. “Nevertheless, this Court lacks jurisdiction to explore the troubling concerns that plague Will’s capital conviction.

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New York Times- Appeal of Death Row Case Is More Than a Matter of Guilt or Innocence

March 10 2012

No one saw Rob Will shoot and kill Harris County Deputy Sheriff Barrett Hill in the still-black morning hours in a Houston bayou on Dec. 4, 2000. No physical evidence linked him to the murder
Mr. Will, now on death row, said that he is innocent, but that he has been represented by ineffective lawyers. He has a new lawyer who faces the daunting challenge of representing Mr. Will at this late stage in his appeals.
Witnesses have testified that another man confessed to Deputy Hill’s murder. But in a January ruling, Judge Keith Ellison of United States District Court lamented that even though he was concerned Mr. Will could be innocent, he had to deny his motion for a new trial.
disturbing uncertainties,” he wrote. “Federal law does not recognize actual innocence as a mechanism to overturn an otherwise valid conviction.”

Houston Chronicle- Death Row Inmate's Effort to Spare Life Gains Momentum

April 2 2012

Like so many before him, Texas death row inmate Robert Gene Will II says he's not guilty. Given the state of Texas' record in seeing its death sentences carried out, the odds on getting the right people to believe him are not great.
But there have been exceptions. Will insists that if he can get a fair hearing, he will be another one. He admits he was no saint in his younger days, that he ran with a bad crowd, and yes, that he and a buddy were breaking into a car on the morning of Dec. 4, 2000, when a spotlight suddenly caught them in its glare. Within moments his life changed forever, and Harris County Sheriff's Deputy Barrett Hill lost his.
Will claims he did not shoot Hill. He has claimed as much since the day of his arrest. He could not have done it, he says, because his hands literally were tied behind his back.

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Huffington Post - Letter From Death Row: It’s Time to Stop Executing the Insane

April 18 2013

A condemned Texas inmate reflects on the blind justice of putting to death a schizophrenic who has plucked out his own eyes.

 Have you ever heard the screams of the insane? It is something you will never forget; it’s a soul disturbing sound and sometimes it can last for hours and hours, day after day after day. 

Is this why so many of the insane in prison rant and scream so maniacally and so very often? Amid the twisted and tumultuous fog of their schizophrenic mind, is a part of their damaged psyche reaching out for help, for comfort, for balance, for peace?

Solitary Watch News- Voices From Solitary: The Heaviness of Blood

October 31 2014

Must the Italians be so very wicked? They have done this all throughout history: created soul-stirring strings music. Music that pulls at ones heartstrings, enhances the emotions with a slight caress, grasps ones deepest feelings and thrusts them into the heavens with the force of Zeus hurling thunderbolts,  or smash-smash-smashes emotions into the abysmal depths of hell with the promise of bringing them back up...up-up-up to the highest heights of deep visceral reflection.

 
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