Fresh Eyes: Justice for my son

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by Sheila LeGrande

I am speaking on behalf of my son, Kalvin Michael Smith.

I was taught that those who enforce the law are supposed to handle cases in an upright manner with complete fairness, free from deceit and fraud.

I would first like to address former Winston-Salem police detective Donald R. Williams, the lead investigator in my son’s case. He was planning on retiring after my son’s prosecution and it appears he wanted to go out with a bang. He did! How is Detective Williams’ family? How do they feel about his actions? They should be ashamed of him.

How long does it take for a so-called man of the law to admit his wrongs? How do you sleep at night, Detective Williams? Do you have any compassion in your heart? Sometimes I feel you are a Klansman with a suit and a badge. You have caused a lot of hurt and pain on a poor, innocent family. I pray that God will touch your heart to be a better man and do what is right.

I would also like to address William M. Speaks, Jr., the attorney who represented my son during his 1997 trial. Mr. Speaks, I think you never defended my son due to your sympathy for Jill Marker, the victim of this heinous crime — a crime my son did not commit. It seemed to me that you were working for the prosecution. Did you make a deal with former District Attorney Tom Keith? How are you able to continue practicing law?

The NC State Bar Association’s Rules of Professional Conduct state: “Competent representation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation.” Deep in your heart, do you feel you provided my son with a competent defense?

Valerie Williams is the angry ex-girlfriend who called CrimeStoppers in January 1997 and made a report about my son, saying he had knowledge of the crime. She recanted her statement immediately but Detective Williams charged my son anyway. Now, Valerie fears for her life. Why? Valerie believes that harm will come to her if she speaks out. She does not understand that there’s nothing the system can do to her for telling what happened during the police investigation, specifically what went on between her and Detective Williams. She should not have to live in fear.

I would like to address former Winston-Salem police officer Arnita Miles. Ms. Miles, does your friendship with Donald R. Williams’ family mean more to you than standing up for what is right? You are being scapegoated and you don’t even realize it. I pray that you will stand up for what is right and what is wrong. I forgive you and I pray for you. The FBI and the media should take a greater interest in my son’s case. They should ask NC Attorney General Roy Cooper why the buck is being passed. No one wants to admit they made a mistake. Nobody is perfect.

I am angry and tired of a corrupt system that passes the buck to cover up the truth. You can convict a person with pen and paper. Maybe we can bring justice the same way.

I ask everyone who reads this to please write letters, to march in demonstrations and speak out. Let the system know that we will no longer stand by and watch as it treats us and our loved ones any way it wants and get away with it. We must advocate not only for my son, Kalvin Michael Smith, but for ourselves and our families as a whole. I pity those who helped convict an innocent man — my son, Kalvin Michael Smith. It’s time to stand up!

Sheila LeGrande lives in Winston-Salem.