Lee et al v. Hutchinson et al

Filing 66

ORDER denying 62 Williams' amended motion for a preliminary injunction stopping his execution. Signed by Judge D. P. Marshall Jr. on 4/27/2017. (thd)

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS WESTERN DIVISION LEDELL LEE, ADC # 97101; JASON McGEHEE; STACEY JOHNSON; MARCEL WILLIAMS; and KENNETH WILLIAMS v. No. No. No. No. No. PLAINTIFFS 4:17-cv-194-DPM 4:17-cv-195-DPM 4:17-cv-196-DPM 4:17-cv-198-DPM 4:17-cv-199-DPM ASA HUTCHINSON, in his official capacity as Governor of Arkansas; WENDY KELLEY, in her official capacity as Director of the Arkansas Department of Correction; JOHN FELTS, JOHN BELKEN, ANDY SHOCK, DAWNE BENAFIELD VANDIVER, JERRY RILEY, ABRAHAM CARPENTER, JR., and LONA H. McCASTLAIN, all in their official capacities as Members of the Arkansas Parole Board DEFENDANTS JACK HAROLD JONES, JR. INTERVENOR ORDER Williams's amended motion for a preliminary injunction stopping his execution, NQ 62, is denied. Kroupa v. Nielsen, 731 F.3d 813,818 (8th Cir. 2013). Williams is unlikely to prevail on his new argument about lack of notice to the Greenwood family. The Parole Board didn't stumble by not notifying the Greenwoods about Williams's clemency hearing. First, as the State Defendants argue, the statute only requires notice to the capital murder victim's next of kin, and only if they request notice. ARK. CODE ANN.§ 16-93-204(d)(2)(A). Williams is right that Greenwood's death in the traffic accident was in the mix. A perfect statute would require notice to all the victims, and affected family members, of a clemency applicant. This one, though, only requires notice to the victim or family of "the crime" that resulted in the sentence on which the prisoner is seeking mercy. Ibid. The Boren family got notice. Second, and in any event, Ark. Code Ann.§ 16-93-204(d) must be read as a whole, not in pieces. The clemency hearing notice must be joined with the solicitation of the family's recommendation on clemency. ARK. CODE ANN. § 16-93-204(d)(5)(A) & (B). But the statute requires solicitation of a recommendation only "if [the next of kin] files a request for notice with the prosecuting attorney." ARK. CODE ANN. § 16-93-204(d)(2)(A) & (B). The statute imposes no free-standing obligation on the Board to give notice of clemency hearings to all victims or their families, irrespective of whether notice has been requested or not. The Greenwoods, it's undisputed, never requested notice. -2- These clemency proceedings were, as the Court held, marred by procedural errors. Of course it would have been better if the Greenwood family would have appeared and expressed their views with the Boren family. But the record does not show that the Greenwoods requested notice of clemency proceedings. And they were not the next of kin of the victim that Williams was convicted of murdering. The Parole Board had no statutory obligation in these circumstances to notify this family. Therefore, the Greenwoods' letter of today to Governor Hutchinson urging clemency does not change the Court's 7 April2017 ruling, NQ 32 & 36, about due process in these circumstances . Williams got the process the Constitution requires. So Ordered. 7/ D.P. Marshall Jr. United States District Judge -3-

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