View Full Version : Delma Banks case returns to Texarkana.

10-03-2004, 12:01 PM
October 2, 2004

By LISA BOSE McDERMOTT, Texarkana Gazette

Delma Banks Jr. will now be fighting his capital murder conviction in
Texarkana, Texas.

Banks, 45, has been on Texas' Death Row for 24 years for the April 1,
1980, slaying of Wayne Whitehead, 16.

The U.S. Supreme Court and the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals have sent
Banks' civil rights appeal of his conviction and death sentence back to
federal district court in Texarkana, Texas, for U.S. District Judge David
Folsom to determine whether Banks should be granted a completely new trial.

"Between now and Thanksgiving we'll surely have a hearing or something, at
least ... legal arguments as to why we think we're right," said George
Kendall, Banks' lawyer.

The basis of Banks' plea to get a new trial is a pretrial transcript of a
witness, Charles Cook. Former Bowie County District Attorney Louis
Raffaelli, who is deceased, did not provide Banks' lawyer, Lynn Cooksey,
with the transcript at the time of the trial.

The transcript was included in a packet of evidence that Assistant Bowie
County District Attorney James Elliott-who sat as Raffaelli's assistant in
Banks' trial-forwarded to Banks' lawyers as part of the federal appeals.

Banks' lawyers believe Cook gave information ahead of time to an
investigator and former prosecutor that, had Cooksey known about it, could
have been used to later discredit Cook when he testified against Banks.

The transcript, commonly called Banks' "Cook claim," was central to Banks
ever being convicted of Whitehead's fatal shooting, Kendall argues.

"It was a transcript that said he was vigorously coached and Cook denied
(on the witness stand) that he had been coached," Kendall said.

Kendall does not believe that an evidentiary hearing is necessary.

"The evidence is in. All the 5th Circuit said is he (Folsom) needs to
if the issue was litigated and if it was, then (Folsom) needs to go ahead
and decide it," Kendall said.

Kendall believes the issues have been litigated.

"I think he would have never gotten this far if the Supreme Court did not
think it was (litigated)," Kendall said.

Previously, Folsom decided Banks' punishment phase was flawed after Bowie
County jurors rendered a verdict recommending his execution. Folsom
that more work should have been done by Banks' defense lawyer to try to
sway jurors to spare his life.

Folsom let the conviction stand and it was overturned by the 5th Circuit,
which has oversight of Folsom's cases. Neither the 5th Circuit nor Folsom
previously thought the case needed to be completely retried.

But the U.S. Supreme Court, and now the 5th Circuit, which in a recent
opinion reconsidered its prior stand, sent the case back to Folsom to hear.

The case recently arrived from New Orleans, where the 5th Circuit is based.


Source : Texarkana Gazette

10-03-2004, 12:08 PM
Just my opinion, it doesn't sound like Texarkana is going to be able to do any good on this case.
Have to keep faith alive though that someone will have compassion and see what really did happen here.
Remember Hope is a good thing, it springs life eternal.