• Sheet of paper Report

USA: Model criminal justice? Death by prosecutorial misconduct and a ‘stacked’ jury

April 30, 2011

Reginald Clemons has been on death row in Missouri for 17 years, almost all of his adult life. His conviction and death sentence have been upheld by the state and federal courts. Scheduled for execution in June 2009, the execution was stayed by the Missouri Supreme Court which appointed a “special master” judge to examine the case after his lawyers raised doubts about the reliability of his conviction and questions about the proportionality of his death sentence.

Reginald Clemons was one of three African American youths sentenced to death at separate trials in St Louis City, Missouri, in 1992 and 1993 for the murder of two young white women in 1991.6 Marlin Gray was executed in 2005. Antonio Richardson had his death sentence reduced to life imprisonment in 2003. A fourth co-defendant, Daniel Winfrey, white, pled guilty to a lesser offence in return for testimony against his three black co-defendants. He has since been released from prison. Charges against the original suspect in the case, Thomas Cummins, also white, were dropped and he became a key prosecution witness before suing the police for brutality against him during interrogation. Reginald Clemons – and Marlin Gray – independently made similar allegations of ill-treatment against the same police officers, allegations which remain an issue in efforts to prevent Clemons‟ execution.