No one saw Rob Will shoot and kill Harris County Deputy Sheriff Barrett Hill in the still-black morning hours in a Houston bayou on Dec. 4, 2000. No physical evidence linked him to the murder.
Mr. Will, now on death row, said that he is innocent, but that he has been represented by ineffective lawyers. He has a new lawyer who faces the daunting challenge of representing Mr. Will at this late stage in his appeals.
Witnesses have testified that another man confessed to Deputy Hill’s murder. But in a January ruling, Judge Keith Ellison of United States District Court lamented that even though he was concerned Mr. Will could be innocent, he had to deny his motion for a new trial.
“The questions raised during post-judgment factual development about Will’s actual innocence create disturbing uncertainties,” he wrote. “Federal law does not recognize actual innocence as a mechanism to overturn an otherwise valid conviction.”
Mr. Will’s best chance for a new trial may lie with an Arizona case that the United States Supreme Court is soon expected to rule on. States across the country are anxiously awaiting the ruling, which could establish that defendants have a constitutional right to adequate appellate lawyers. For some states, that could require major spending on court-appointed lawyers for thousands of convicts.
source : New York times.march 10,2012