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Allen Joines

Winston-Salem, NC

Dan Besse
P.O. Box 15306 Winston-Salem, NC 27113 May 14, 2013 The Honorable Roy A. Cooper III Office of the Attorney General P.O. Box 629 Raleigh, NC 27602 Dear Attorney General Cooper: We are writing regarding the habeas corpus petition of Mr. Kalvin Smith, now pending in the United States District Court, Middle District of North Carolina (Civil Action No. 1:10-cv-00029). We are writing to offer a personal opinion and recommendation, based in part on study and review of materials, reports, and information coming to our attention as elected officials of the City of WinstonSalem. The City of Winston-Salem has undertaken several internal reviews of police investigatory procedure over the past decade, and has instituted major reforms as a result, including changes to the processes of suspect interviews and witness review of suspects' photos. Both city staff and officials and independent expert reviewers believe these reforms have significantly strengthened the reliability of evidence moving forward from those processes. A major impetus for those reforms was the attention drawn to flaws in investigatory procedures by the Darryl Hunt case, in which a significant miscarriage of justice was confirmed and acknowledged only years after two mistaken convictions. More recently, the Kalvin Smith case has drawn persistent public questions centering in part on perceived problems in witness identification, suspect interview, and evidentiary handling processes. As a result, and at the urging of community advocates, the city council in 2008 established a Silk Plant Forest Citizens Review Committee to review these and similar cases. The citizens review committee was charged with making recommendations for any further procedural reforms needed to improve the reliability of police investigatory procedures in Winston-Salem. The committee was also directed to make any relevant evidence or information uncovered in its review of the Silk Plant Forest case available to all parties in that matter. That committee made its final report to the city council in June 2009. To those of us

Letter to The Honorable Roy A. Cooper III May 14, 2013 charged with reviewing that report, it was clear that major progress has been made since the Hunt and Smith trials. However, it was also clear that the Smith case in 1995-97 was investigated and prosecuted under procedures which have since been reformed in Winston-Salem. It should come as no surprise that legitimate community concerns regarding that case therefore continue to linger. After reviewing that committee report and associated records, it is our personal opinion that a valid question remains of whether Mr. Smith received assistance of counsel adequate to enable a fair defense under the problems of this case and the conditions of his trial. In offering that opinion, we acknowledge that we are not experts in criminal procedures or law. However, we believe that our perceptions of this matter are a fair representation of the views of many who have reviewed the details involved. We believe that public confidence in the administration of justice would be enhanced by a full review in federal court of the merits of Mr. Smith's claims. Therefore, we encourage you to reconsider your opposition to the federal habeas petition by Mr. Smith in this matter. Thank you for your consideration. Sincerely,

Dan Besse

Allen Joines