State v. Clarence Roberts | The North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | From the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission | Lindsey Guice Smith, Executive Director

On August 15-17, 2023, the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission (NCIIC) held a hearing in State v. Clarence Roberts, 13 CRS 054359 (Robeson County). The case arises from the murder of Joshua Council on June 14, 2013. On May 5, 2017, Clarence Roberts was convicted, after a jury trial, of Second-Degree Murder.

During the hearing, NCIIC Executive Director Lindsey Guice Smith, presented the case to the Commissioners. The Commission’s lead investigators on this case were Staff Attorneys Mackenzie Myers and Taylor Miller. After carefully considering the evidence, the Commission concluded by a vote of 6-2 that there was sufficient evidence of factual innocence to merit judicial review and the case was referred forward for a hearing before a three-judge panel. Chief Justice Paul Newby will appoint a panel of three superior court judges to hear the case in Robeson County.

The North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission is a state agency charged with investigating post-conviction claims of factual innocence. The agency was created by the General Assembly in 2006 and began operations in 2007. The Commission is the first and only of its kind in the country. Since 2007, over 3500 clams have been submitted and review by the Commission.  The Commission has held 19 hearings.  Fifteen individuals have been exonerated as a result of the Commission’s investigations. 

For more information, please contact the Commission’s Executive Director, Lindsey Guice Smith, at (919) 890-1580 or [email protected]. You may also find more information on the Commission’s website at