The United States Supreme Court overturned the sentence of Delma Banks Jr. in 2004. He had previously been found guilty and sentenced to die in the murder of 16 year old Richard Whitehead over 30 years ago. Now, as his case gets a new sentencing hearing, his attorneys argue the court should bar prosecutor James Elliot from the case, since he was the initial prosecutor, now rebuked by the High Court of the land.
Banks, who is black, was accused of killing Whitehead, who was white, so he could “take off with his car”. The evidence in the case was thin, to say the least. There was no physical evidence at all and the state’s case largely depended on the testimony of two admitted drug users, Robert Farr and Charles Cook.
Cook testified that he say Banks the morning after the murder with blood on his pants. Banks reportedly told Cook that he had to “kill the white boy for the hell of it and take his car and come to Dallas.” Though both Farr and Cook had criminal histories, Banks did not and other witnesses state they say Banks and Whitehead together earlier the night of the murder and that there seemed to be no friction between the two.
What led to the Supreme Court’s ruling, overturning the death sentence, was the revelation that the two star witnesses were actually coached and paid for their testimony. This had been kept from the defense at trial. Farr said at the time he was frightened that the police were going to arrest him on drug charges; this is when he decided to “set up” Banks in exchange for money and to avoid the arrest.
In regards to the prosecution, Mr. Elliott, the Supreme Court said “It has long been established that the prosecution’s deliberate deception of a court and jurors by the presentation of known false evidence is incompatible with rudimentary demands of justice.” It’s this reasoning that Banks’ attorneys hope will get Elliott of the case for good.
In addition, Banks’ attorneys are expected to ask for a new trial, based on the perjury of the two witnesses. “In a case where the evidence of guilt is so very thin, and the misconduct by the prosecution is so far-reaching and well-documented, there’s no reason for any court to have any confidence the conviction is solid,” remarked one expert from the Capital Punishment Center.
Though we hope this kind of encouraged perjury is uncommon in this day and age, it is still possible. Having a defense attorney working on your side for your best interests helps ensure such unscrupulous antics won’t be used against you in court.
Whether you are facing murder charges or a DUI, you deserve fair treatment. Contact our attorneys immediately for a free consultation on your case and to see how we might be able to help.