Death row inmate arthur lee williams in texas

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Williams' appeal also raised questions about the constitutionality of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure and how it applies to questions jurors must consider when deliberating a death sentence. Williams, 51, is among the longest-serving death row inmates in Texas. He was 22 when he was arrested two days after the shooting and has been on death row since May An uninformed opponent is a dangerous opponent.

Arthur Williams, a year-old black man, is on death row for shooting to death Daryl Shirley, a white Houston police detective who was in street clothes when he tried to serve Williams with a warrant outside Williams' Houston apartment, on April 28, Williams describes the encounter on a website he set up to raise legal defense funds. Williams says Shirley was wearing a cowboy hat, checkered shirt, jeans and cowboy boots and pointing a 9-mm pistol at his face.

Thinking he was being robbed, Williams says he grabbed Shirley's gun and tried to wrestle it away from him.

The struggle went to the ground and Williams pulled a. Williams says that as he turned back towards Shirley it looked like Shirley was reaching for his gun, which had been knocked to the ground. During Williams' murder trial, witnesses called by the state and defense gave conflicting statements about whether Williams knew Shirley was a cop when he shot him, according to a recap in U.

District Judge Nancy Atlas' Aug.


A Harris County jury sentenced Williams to death for the murder in , unmoved by his argument that because he had been robbed in the past by someone who falsely claimed they were police, if Shirley had identified himself as a policeman, he didn't believe him. Williams' state habeas case "inexplicably He filed his federal habeas application in June Federal law requires prisoners to exhaust their state appeals before they can file a federal habeas case.

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Atlas found the evolution of habeas law, altered by several Supreme Court decisions since Williams' conviction, works in the man's favor. As a "senior status" federal judge, Atlas, a Bill Clinton appointee, is semi-retired and has the option to take fewer cases but still gets her full salary.

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She gave three reasons why Williams' habeas petition survived the state's motion for summary judgment: the prosecution used its peremptory strikes to eliminate all six African-Americans from the jury pool, the defense called no witnesses during the trial's punishment phase and didn't present any mitigating evidence about Williams' background.

The U. Supreme Court in the case Batson v. Kentucky ruled that prosecutors in a criminal case cannot reject jurors based solely on their race. The high court's Batson ruling came down when Williams' appeal was pending before the Texas Criminal Court of Appeals. Williams took the issue to the U. Supreme Court, which remanded the case and the state appeals court kicked it down to the trial court. In a Batson hearing a prosecutor justified the state's use of strikes to eliminate the six black potential jurors, and the appellate court denied Williams' claim.

Despite that ruling, Atlas put Williams' fate in his and his attorney's abilities to research and write legal arguments, ordering him to find case-law showing that he was unconstitutionally convicted in light of the changes to habeas law. She gave him until Sept. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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