by Max Brantley
The Arkansas Supreme Court today overturned the death sentence of Frank Williams in Lafayette County and ordered a new sentencing. The opinion cited a breakdown in the appeals process and a failure to consider a reversible error — that the jury indicated no mitigating evidence had been presented against Williams death when there was a clear record that evidence had been introduced on his troubled childhood and mental capacity. His attorneys have argued during appeals that Williams is mentally retarded.
Williams was convicted of killing farmer Clyde Spence in 1992. In a separate action, Williams has challenged death sentence protocols.
ALSO AT THE COURT TODAY: The Supreme Court established a Commission on Youth and Families to improve outcomes for children, youth and families in the courts. The mission state includes recommendations for improvement, focus on "data-driven, evidence-based" decisions, promote fairness and training and improve access for foster parents and relative caregivers.