State v. Coatney Williams
About the Case
In State v. Coatney Williams, The Commission conducted a hearing on September 28-29, 2020. The Commission unanimously concluded that there was sufficient evidence of factual innocence to merit judicial review. This case was referred forward for a hearing before a three-judge panel.
In lieu of the case being heard by a three-judge panel, District Attorney Valerie Asbell offered Mr. Williams an Alford Plea which the plea would allow him to be released with time served. An Alford Plea “is when a defendant maintains his innocence but admits that the state has sufficient evidence to convict him and agrees to be treated as guilty.” See North Carolina v. Alford, 400 U.S. 25 (1970). On January 21, 2021, Mr. Williams accepted the Alford Plea. He was released from prison on January 25, 2021.
The documents presented at the Commission hearing became public record and are included here. The court sealed some documents from the public record.
The transcript of the Commission hearing is available for viewing ONLY. If you would like to purchase a printed copy of the hearing transcript, please contact Tori Pittman at (919) 931-6222 or [email protected].
For more information about Alford Pleas, go to: https://nccriminallaw.sog.unc.edu/alford-pleas/