Attorneys For Kalvin Michael Smith Vow To Continue Fight For His Freedom

Attorneys For Kalvin Michael Smith Vow To Continue Fight For His Freedom

10:36am Sep 26, 2016
Kalvin Michael Smith is assigned to the minimum-security prison in Winston-Salem, where he is serving a 29-year sentence in connection with the assault on Jill Marker at the Silk Plant Forest store in December 1995. WFDD/PAUL GARBER

Lawyers for Kalvin Michael Smith say the case is far from over despite the N.C. Supreme Court's recent decision to dismiss his latest appeal.

A jury convicted Kalvin Michael Smith in 1997 in connection with an assault at the Silk Plant Forest store in Winston-Salem, and he was sentenced to almost 29 years in prison. The attack left the victim, Jill Marker, severely brain-damaged. Smith, now 45, has maintained his innocence. 

Jim Coleman, co-director of the Wrongful Convictions Clinic at Duke Law School, says he plans to file another appeal in state court by the end of the year.

“And then what I hope happens is they will assign it to a judge whom everybody will respect for his or her integrity and independence who will then independently consider the evidence and decide the case," he says. "If we get that, I’m confident we’ll prevail.”

Coleman says crucial evidence has been withheld in the case. That includes evidence from a police interview with Marker years after the attack. Coleman believes the interview was videotaped but the tape was never shared with defense attorneys, and it may show she was unable to identify Smith as the attacker.

Prosecutors have long said no such tape exists. Coleman says he’s seen references to it in the case record.

Smith’s longtime supporters say he was railroaded, and two local inquiries found serious flaws in the case. But both federal and state courts have so far ruled against all of his appeals.

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