I normally don't get caught up in the corrupt matters of the system, the courts, legal aspects, etc. unless it involves the stealing of children from parents that, aside from minor issues, (which we ALL as humans have!), should never have been taken; exposing the corruptness of the Arkansas Department Of Children and Family Services, Child Protective Services (more commonly known as the Child Prison System!), and the lies and manipulations from the so called "professional" workers associated with these cases. However, I received an email just the other day, from a complete stranger, that completely caught my attention; a huge part because of the corruptness of the Arkansas Legal system. I am withholding my opinion of the situation for the present, so as not to influence anyone reading this. I am asking you all to just read the following, and YOU be the judge, so to speak. Comments will be allowed.
I need your help please
Here is a full cover of what is going on. It was written by my Fiance' and posted on news vine but no one has viewed it, or commented on it. All the facts in this are true and I have full Documentation and proof.
Arkansas has been making news in the last few years with the number of convictions that have been questionable to say the least. The most notable of them being, the West Memphis three case, involving Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley, and Jason Baldwin.
However, there are many others in Arkansas facing similar situations. Arkansas Prosecutors have no actual oversight and as stated by the Arkansas Attorney generals office this is because they are individually elected officials. The Arkansas Attorney Generals office when asked about the governance of County Prosecutors referred to the judicial conduct review board as being the monitor of Prosecutors. Yet, upon contacting them, I was told that they take in complaints regarding ethics violation of attorneys, but they have no actual roll in monitoring County Prosecutors.
One prime example of this backwoods legal system is a case involving a man named Marcus E. Clay. Mr. Clay was initially convicted of (5) five counts of Rape out of Grant County, Arkansas that allegedly occurred when he was (17) seventeen. However, Mr. Clay was actually in Ft. Benning, GA. for Basic training and A.I.T. when the alleged offences were to of occurred in Arkansas. Now, a logical person might ask how can this be...How can a man be convicted of a crime when he was not even in the state at the time it was allegedly committed? Let alone while he was under constant military watch. The answer is simple.
The main accuser was a girl that he had broken up with when he became legal age. She being disgruntled and also a Sheriff's Deputy's daughter, and who also had sent other people away for the same thing. Got together with (4) four of her friends and they all made allegations to the then school counselor. The small town sheriff wrote out a confession and he and another officer Detective Kent Williams (who was later fired for misconduct) held down Mr. Clay and beat him until he signed the confession. Now, one might ask, well he would still have to go before a jury, how could they do that when he had evidence? When the Jury was asked how many of them knew the defendant not one hand was raised. Yet, when they were asked if they knew the accusers or their family every member of the jury raised their hand. So how could this be a fair trial? He was sentenced to a term of life + (80) eighty years, but after only a year and a half the State Supreme Court reversed and remanded it back to the same County for (5) five new trials.
While waiting for the new trials, he was brought out and seen by his "attorney" a public defender named John Kearney and the Prosecuting Attorney at that time “Harold King”. He was threatened by the Then Prosecutor Harold king with a guarantee of (5) life sentences if he made the county go through (5) five new trials, and cohersed into taking a plea agreement for a term of (20) twenty years under the instruction of the public defender that it was the only way he would be able to get a change of venue and a new fair trial in a different county. In the words of the Then public defender that is now a District court Judge John Kearney, upon recalling the situation after testified at the hearing for a writ of Error Coram Nobis. (Taken from a Phone conversation Mr. Clay himself recorded.)
"Marcus Clay: ok they're saying (the grant county Court) that you said, that you, that they were never there, that there was no intimidation, now you were there when I was told in front of him (judge John Cole) that if I did not take, it was not any you could face this, it was "you will get this if you make this county go through (5) five more trials was it not? (Referring to (5) five life sentences)
John Kearney: right, and recollection was that he did say that
Marcus Clay: Harold King said that
John Kearney: Right
Marcus Clay: and John Cole was right there
John Kearney: and I don't remember that he was, but I don't, you know, I don't doubt that he was there because obviously he was, he was there at some point"
Marcus Clay: We discussed this before that you know at that period of time you told me that was the only way to get a new trial was to go ahead and fight it later
John Kearney: Yeah
Marcus Clay: So you told me that and that's what I did, I mean, I was under the impression that this was my only means, you never told me you only have 90 days to change you plea
John Kearney: right"
Judge John Cole mentioned in the Conversation was the then Circuit Court Judge for Grant County and is now retired. In Arkansas it is illegal for a judge to be present or involved in plea agreements or negotiations. However, as acknowledged by the current District Court Judge John Kearney, he was there and participated in it "at some point"
The problem is that when Mr. Clay received a hearing on what is called a Writ of Error Coram Nobis, (a very rare remedy more known for its denial then its actual approval), Judge Kearney in his testimony denied any thing that would actually get him into trouble, for that matter his memory became so vague when it was stated by the deputy Prosecutor "Now Mr. Kearney we have both been attorneys for many years and what Mr. Clay stated would be illegal, and you wouldn't do any thing illegal would you?" John Kearney answered the question with “no, I don’t believe I would” and after that he could not even recall if there even was a plea agreement made.
The head Prosecutor, Eddy Easley was in private practice when the alleged offences originally came to light and Mr. Clay had asked him if he would represent him in the matter since he had represented Mr. Clay in a juvenile offence. Mr. Easley had gotten Marcus E. Clay (5) years probation on an unrelated juvenile offence and also represented him in getting his probation cut early so he could get into the Army. In doing this, he verified when Marcus went into the Army and how long he was going for. As well as, the fact that Marcus Clay had done his Probation in Michigan and received all his probation reports acknowledging his compliance with his probation before he agreed to go to the court to get the probation cut. Yet, the same deputy's daughter was some how related and connected to Mr. Easley and he cited a conflict of interest.
While sitting in John Kearney's office, John Kearny had called Eddy Easley who is now the head prosecutor of Grant County Arkansas to discuss the write of error Coram Nobis and asking why the state was contesting the motion since he had first hand knowledge of the situation. Eddy Easley’s response was this “John we both know the boy was not here, but I am an elected official and I like my job, that means if I want to keep my job I have to look out for my constituents, just tell Marcus it’s nothing personal.”
Mr. Clay speaking with Judge Kearney after the hearing on the writ of Error Coram Nobis recorded this over the phone.
"Marcus Clay: I'm going to get it to ya, (referring to a copy of the judges order) I mean my thinking is 'cause here's the deal I'm looking at (clears throat) we both we talked about this, you know in regards of what should of happened back then and what did happen
John Kearney: right
Marcus Clay: the bottom line is you know I was never told, no one ever read this out asked me if I had, if I have been cohersed, if I was in agreement or anything
John Kearney: ummm hmmm
Marcus Clay: and you testified to that, you testified that I did not want to take the plea
John Kearney: right
Marcus Clay: and Eddy Easley is sitting back, you know he let his underlings handle it because you and him have already talked about it, he acknowledged to you that he knew I was gone
John Kearney: right
Marcus Clay: So how could I have committed the crime if I was not even in the state and the head prosecutor knows about it?
John Kearney: well I mean that's the whole jest of, of your case"
Grant County has a long history of corruption in Arkansas, from Prosecutor Dan Harmon being indicted and convicted of drug usage and stealing drugs from evidence. To the last chief of police David Hooks being indicted for stealing funds to purchase things via the internet, but in this case the Judge Chris E. Williams himself stated in the order denying the Writ of error Coram Nobis that the court never received any evidence in regards to Marcus E. Clay being in the Military to prove his allegation that he was not even in the state. This is ironic since then Attorney John Kearney who was a private attorney at the time filed the initial petition. Had a Certified copy of the military record attached to the Petition and filed it as evidence under seal before becoming a Judge. So, what happened to that piece of evidence, since it was attached and filed under seal? They received the petition.
The Prosecutor of Grant County even went so far as to try to justify the Plea agreement as being part of another plea that took place in Saline County Arkansas in regards to a Marcus Clay in which he received (20) twenty years for rape. The problem with that is that the Other Marcus Clay is a Black male named Marcus L. Clay and 3 years younger then Marcus E. Clay. The Judge was also provided with a copy of that mans Judgment and commitment order to prove this but stated in his order to Dismiss Mr. Clays Writ of Error Coram Nobis that he never got that either and that he was in fact the same man as the black male charged in Saline County.
Mr. Clay has even filed for a full Pardon only to be told by Governor Mike Beebe's assistant Amy Click, "the Governor greatly frowns upon this type of charge and takes them very seriously, and I will tell you now he will not put the state in a position to be sued or do anything that will damage the image of Arkansas." This coming, even after Presidential Mike Huckabee’s Director of research Joe carter had a person from the campaign contact Mike Beebe’s office and share their research and information. As a result, even with all evidence presented Mr. Clay was denied a pardon. So where does the Corruption end? Mr. Clay has recorded conversations with Senator Blanche Lincolns Military Liaison Rod Sweetman acknowledging that he had looked into it and he knows Marcus Clay was in Ft. Benning But in his words.
"Marcus Clay: Well, I mean if someone contacted you to, and asked, Hey, could you verify that you looked into this and he wasn't in the State. I mean, would you be able to give them what you found out.
Rod Sweetman: That depends on who it is.
Marcus Clay: Like a State Senator or Congress, State Congress, Representative, or what ever
Rod Sweetman: That is basically who it is, you know we …. There's not a lot we can do because it's going to be up …. The Military's already said what they want
Marcus Clay: Oh ya, well they told me that I had to have this off me, if that is what you're talking about. They could… (Cut short)
Rod Sweetman: ya
Marcus Clay: (continued) … take me back without this, but I mean, you had talked, you had contacted then and looked into it and found out that I wasn't, you know, even in the state at the time
Rod Sweetman: Oh, Ya, It's still going to be up to the investigation, for what they come back with."
Congressman Mike Ross's office just told Marcus "The congressman does not get involved in such matters, but good luck." When Mike Huckabee was governor he promised Marcus Clay a full pardon as soon as he was eligible for one and told him to apply. Stating to him, that since he was not eligible for one at that time. He would write him a letter of recommendation to get back into service until he was eligible. But in his last year in office, he deferred Marcus Clay since he was starting to receive heat for the Wayne Dumonds situation. However, Marcus E. Clay did record a conversation with Joe Carter, Mike Huckabee's director of research and in Joe Carter Stated.
"Joe Carter: This Joe
Marcus Clay: yes Mr. Carter
Joe Carter: yes sir
Marcus Clay: I'm trying to figure out what my next course of action should be in trying to get my life back and I was kinda curious as to ..you said yesterday that or day before yesterday when we spoke that you guys had contacted Governor Beebe's Office what exactly did his office say and what was basically the just of the conversation so I know what I need to do next?
Joe Carter: Well that I mean I didn't talk to them directly we had one of our guys call them but they were like you know.. they you know their not, their not friendly to us at all. They don't like us, what your telling us is obliviously what your telling us is true, you should have your lawyer file charges on this I mean you can prove you were out of state then you should take that to the judge who umm… who umm presided over the case. I mean they should just be able to just throw out the conviction.
Marcus Clay: He's retired now and the prosecutor is taking the stance it would set a bad president.
Joe Carter: ok, so I…I…still don't know why Beebe's office won't just hear your case.
Marcus Clay: They probably would but it's going to take another year and a half to get through to them and like I said I have to go through steps of Parole Board and that takes four to five months then it's got to go up there then I have to sit and meet with everyone you see what I'm saying?
Joe Carter: yeah
Marcus Clay: An, an I'm trying to get into the military now and get my life back now
Joe Carter: yeah I can understand that
Marcus Clay: I've been patient and went through the steps already and, and I kinda got kicked in my mouth. Did your guy even tell his office that I was wrongfully convicted?
Joe Carter: Yeah but listen I mean it's like having I mean we’re the wrong people I mean having your name attached to it would slow the process down, I mean they would hold on to it just to screw us because they hate, hate governor Huckabee so bad. So it one of those thing I mean honestly if Governor Huckabee said we'll help you out it would hurt you and drag the case out longer, that's why I'm saying you should threaten to go to the press if governor Huckabee ..uhhh Governor Beebe staff just doesn't take it seriously. I mean it's umm
Marcus clay: I understand
Joe Carter: It's just you know how I mean you know how Arkansas Politics is
Marcus Clay: yeah it's like Joe Carter: they will screw some an innocent person in order to get back at a political rival
Marcus Clay: Alright well I do appreciate you
Joe Carter: I wish there was more we could do but you know how..it's just we do not want to get involved in a way that could be more detrimental to you than be helpful"
So where does the corruption and games stop, and the justice begin. The Local media will not take on a story like this saying it is not the type of thing they are interested in. The director of KATV channel seven (7) did state however, that if Marcus Clay reoffended or committed another crime they would be more than happy to cover that.
For Marcus Clay there are no resources for legal help. Legal aid does not assist in criminal matters, and the innocence project only takes on cases where the accused is currently incarcerated. While many attorneys’ site time lines for appeals and then want a minimal of ($4,000) four thousand dollars or more to take a case. However, what everyone either fails to realize or just does not care about is, these are not regular charges like Burglary, or theft of Property, or drug charges. These are sexual offences he is charged with, the most hated and vile of all crimes, and under the Offender registration laws he can not gain work because in Marcus Clays words. "Every time I apply for a job I have to disclose the convictions, and after I do that I never get a call back or they tell me they will be in touch and then NOTHING.” At some point someone has to take action on this matter, the violation of civil liberties and rights are too obvious to be ignored.
You see stories like this in old movies about backwoods justice and even in the song “the night the lights went out in Georgia”, Yet in a modern society that even though the justice system is not perfect, something this obvious should immediately be rectified and corrected. In Arkansas there is no statute of limitations on criminal sexual offences. A person can commit an offence and they can bring charges against them (50) fifty years later. But, in Arkansas the window of correcting a false conviction is so short and with such limited resources to use. It is virtually impossible to find justice, especially when Arkansas has been set up to be basically, a no fault, and no liability state.
(NOTE): I can provide full copies of all recordings (which are legal under Arkansas law) and Transcripts of Documents cited in this article, upon request.