Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
For Immediate Release: August 24, 2012
Senator Constance Johnson statement on Darrell Williams’
case and Thursday’s Social Justice Advocacy Forum in Stillwater
“There has been some misunderstanding about the purpose behind
the Social Justice Advocacy Forums taking place in Stillwater. Rev.
Jesse Jackson and those of us who attended Thursday prayed for Darrell
Williams, who we believe was wrongly accused and convicted, and
for the other victims - the women who wrongfully accused him, his
family members and those who may be harmed because the actual perpetrator
is still running free. This is a typical case of wrongful conviction,
but the list of victims is long and we can’t forget all the
others who have or will be affected by unfairness in our justice
system. The ultimate victims, however, are the citizens of Oklahoma
when our laws fail to clarify punishments and we lack standardized
sentencing guidelines that ensure people are treated fairly and
equitably regardless of where they live in Oklahoma.
“Oklahoma’s justice system is broken. Another OSU athlete
was accused of a similar crime in Cherokee County but the D.A. in
that county dropped the charges. In Payne County, if nothing changes,
Darrell will have to register as a sex offender and serve two years
in prison for a crime we believe he didn’t commit. This is
a perfect example of why we must create a set of standardized sentencing
guidelines that apply to all 77 counties instead of each county
working under different sets of guidelines. Had Darrell lived in
Tahlequah, he would possibly be free.
“This is a no-win case for all involved. Darrell is a stellar
athlete and a 4.0 student who has been wrongly accused yet his life
could be forever changed because his accusers chose his picture
from an OSU sports roster rather than an actual lineup. A jury consisting
of none of his peers unfairly judged him. Even if they wanted to,
his accusers could not withdraw their statements because of the
possibility of perjury.
“No one wins when our system is broken, but something positive
did come out of the forum when about 30 people, including members
of the OSU basketball team, registered to vote. They can now add
their voices to the fight for justice and equality. Change is slow
but all things are possible through prayer, and we’re well
on our way.”
“The judge’s decision to grant a continuance is an
acknowledgment that all is not as it appears. I want to thank Rev.
Jesse Jackson and everyone who was involved in the advocacy forum.
Together we helped open the eyes of justice to the wrongful nature
of this case. Darrell and his counsel will now get another chance
to prove his innocence and we will be able to continue to work towards
healing for victims and a broken system.”
For more information contact:
Sen. Constance Johnson: (405) 521-5531