Inmate Willie Stokes has a vacant life sentence without parole for his 1984 murder conviction

Inmate Willie Stokes received a life sentence without parole for the 1984 murder that was vacated by a federal judge.

Last month, the judge, assisted by the Philadelphia prosecutor, ruled that Willie Stokes’ rights were violated because no one had informed him that a key witness against him had been charged with perjury. man after being convicted. The federal court said Stokes would be retried within 120 days or released.

The witness, Franklin Lee, lied during Stokes’ preliminary hearing about the North Philadelphia murder of Leslie Campbell, according to reports. The Philadelphia Inquirer.

“The defendant said Willie Stokes told him he killed Leslie Campbell,” the alleged document reads, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. “The defendant knew Willie Stokes made no such claim.”

Lee withdrew this statement at Stoke’s trial, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. He claims homicide detectives cheated on him in exchange for access to sex and drugs.

“This remarkable case is marked by the legal practices and policies that were so prevalent during the so-called tough crime era of the 1980s and 1990s, and regrettably still persisted in too many neighborhoods. current legal field,” said Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner in a statement statement. “Prosecutors have an obligation to seek justice and redefine the success of prosecution – not by ‘victory’ in convictions, but by accuracy and fairness in dealing with cases.” investigation and prosecution of crimes.

“Mr Stokes’ ordeal of nearly four decades of filing for bailout after bailout, was denied only on procedural grounds and without all the evidence the Constitution says he is indebted from. Commonwealth, stressing the urgency of finding the criminal justice system Krasner said in statement.

Follow statement, Magistrate Judge Carol Sandra Moore Wells found that “it was reasonably likely that Stokes would have been acquitted without Lee’s testimony and that the trial was therefore unreliable.”

Willie Stokes, Conviction Vacated, 1980 Murder
According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, witness Franklin Lee lied during Willie Stokes’ preliminary hearing about the murder of Leslie Campbell in North Philadelphia in 1980, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. In this photo, state troopers stand in the aisles while local law enforcement secures the front door reading sentences during the June 21, 2005, Edgar Ray Killen murder trial, Philadelphia, Mississippi.
Image Rogelio Solis-Pool / Getty

In November, the witness testified that he deceived Stokes in the North Philadelphia murder of Campbell in 1980 because prosecutors at the time had promised him a favorable settlement on open cases. against him.

Despite this, prosecutors convicted and sentenced Stokes to life without parole and later pursued perjury charges against Lee for misrepresenting his preliminary hearing. For more than three decades, that prosecution and conviction of perjury was not disclosed to Stokes, who may have used it in his appeals.

“We just want him home. It’s been a long fight,” said Stokes’ sister, Renee. The Philadelphia Inquirer. The prosecutor’s office has not said whether it plans to conduct a new trial.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Inmate Willie Stokes has a vacant life sentence without parole for his 1984 murder conviction

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