Stop Ignoring Key Errors of the Judicial System in Cases Against People of Colour

Over the years there have been a plethora of cases involving people of colour which have gone against them simply because of the colour of their skin. It cannot be denied that in predominately white countries (for example the U.K. and the U.S.) there is a stigma against people of colour that give them a tough deal whenever a criminal case has been brought against them.

This stigma affects black people the most out of all ethnicities.

In 2016 it was found that African-Americans make up 13.3% of the U.S. population but are 5 times more likely to be incarcerated than white people.

That statistic more than anything makes it clear that there is something going against black people in the American judicial system., and if for some reason that statistic doesn’t speak for itself then here’s something more.

Currently, the case surrounding 48-year-old Marcellus Williams has been making its way around Twitter and other forms of social media.

On August 11, 1998, Felicia Gayle was stabbed 43 times in a robbery at her home in St Louis. Williams was later convicted of the murder and sentenced to death. It has to be mentioned that the conviction of Williams hinged on two people who received monetary expenses totaling $10,000.

He was granted a stay of execution in January 2015 to allow for DNA testing that wasn’t available when he was convicted due to a lack of technology. Despite the fact that DNA evidence found no trace of Williams’ DNA on the murder weapon, his execution was scheduled for August 22, 2017.  The DNA experts testified that DNA found on the weapon did not belong to Mrs. Gayle or her husband on Williams and so it belonged to another person.

The evidence was presented to the Missouri Supreme Court who ordered the execution to go on anyway. And if you think that

And if you think that was bad imagine this: none, I repeat none of the physical evidence (including fingernails scratchings, hair and foot prints matched Marcellus Williams.

This case went viral after news that his execution date was today with thousands of people worldwide signing a petition to stop William’s execution and today it was announced that governor Eric Greitens had stayed his execution again in order to consider this evidence further.

To me and you the mere fact that none of his DNA was found at the scene would be enough to rule him out so what is really going on here?

Well, number one, Gayle was white and Williams is black. Two, the prosecutors struck 6 out of the 7 black potential jurors and did not let the defence attorneys know about the background of the witnesses one of which was a jailhouse snitch and the other was a crack-addicted prostitute who both received money for testifying.

Missouri’s death penalty laws are broken for many reasons, including but not limited to: racial injustice, disparities in representation and sentencing, and prosecutorial misconduct. For example in Missouri, an individual is 14 times more likely to receive a death sentence when the homicide victim is a white woman. 

A research study conducted by Arye Rattner found 8,500 wrongful convictions cases in the U.S. over a century and the mass of wrongful execution in the UK led to its abolishment in the 20th century.

It is evident that there are problems with the judicial system, in times like this with the advancement of technology open to investigation such as these it would be thought that detectives would be able to reach the correct conclusion but sadly a plethora of people die each year who are posthumously exonerated for their crimes by which time it’s too late.

The sad truth in Williams’ case is that without the noise of thousands of people of Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, an innocent man could have been going to his death today.

Sign the petition here.

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seventeen year old writer based in london. find her on twitter: @moyojadekadri instagram: @moyokadri or email her: moykadx@gmail.com

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