20 PRIOR RESULTS DO NOT GUARANTEE A SIMILAR OUTCOME AT TORNEYS SELECTED TO SUPER LAWYERS WERE CHOSEN IN ACCORDANCE WI TH THE PROCESS ON PAGE 40.
degree, and a number of things were done by
Jackson to help him out when he was in jail.
That’s not really the issue. The issue is that four
years later, in 1996, Jackson came back into
court and, on Webb’s behalf, told the judge that,
“We have to nunc pro tunc this.” Nunc pro tunc
is illegal in this situation because it has to be a
ministerial error to nunc pro tunc something. But
he had Webb’s conviction for robbery one reduced
to robbery two to accelerate his parole release
date. On the file, Jackson wrote, “This is in return
for cooperation in the Willingham case.” Then
he wrote a letter to the board of parole, saying,
“Reduce this to robbery in the second degree. I
spoke to the defense lawyer and our records show
it was never intended to be a robbery in the first.”
What’s extraordinary about this case right now
is that, if he’s saying in 1996 that he now knows
there was a deal with Webb, doesn’t he have the
duty to correct the record? So that’s what the bar
complaint is about—that he obviously had a duty
to correct. That action is pending. [Editor’s note:
A 2014 CNN story reported that Jackson stands by
the verdict and denies promising leniency to Webb
in exchange for his testimony. There has been
no decision on the grievance that the Innocence
Project brought against Jackson and filed July 25,
2014 with the State Bar of Texas.]
Q: Is the Willingham case an example of an
innocent man being executed by the state?
A: I don’t think there’s much argument about it.
Q: In 2006, Justice Scalia said that if there
was an innocent man who was executed by the
state, then people would be shouting it from
A: They are.
Q: But are enough people shouting?
A: There are a lot of people shouting now,
including a recent dissent by Justice Breyer in
the Glossip case. The last seven years, you’ve
had seven states repeal the death penalty—
with Nebraska, a conservative state, repealing
the death penalty this year. The number of
executions has dramatically decreased, the
number of capital sentences has dramatically
decreased, support for the death penalty in
principle has declined dramatically, and if you
ask people, “Are you for capital punishment
versus life without parole,” it’s about 50/50
according to Pew and other pollsters.
Abner Louima’s lawyers Barry Scheck (L), Peter Neufeld
(2nd from L) and Johnnie Cochran (R) flank him at a news
conference in New York, June 8, 1999, after a jury found a
New York City police officer guilty of taking part in the sexual
assault of Louima in a precinct bathroom two years earlier.