The Winston-Salem City Council previously established the Silk Plant Forest Citizen Review Committee (“SPFCRC”) to review the Winston-Salem Police Department’s investigation of the Jill Marker-Silk Plant Forest case originating on December 9, 1995 and other cases the SPFCRC determined to be plausibly related. After an extensive review process, the SPFCRC issued a report and made a number of recommendations for enhancements to the administrative policies and procedures of the Winston-Salem Police Department. The City Manager and the Police Chief took steps necessary to incorporate the recommendations, to the extent not previously incorporated into existing administrative policies and procedures, into said policies and procedures, provided the same were consistent with best practices and compliant with existing law.
The Winston-Salem City Council recognizes that it is not within its jurisdiction to: (1) determine the guilt or innocence of Kalvin Michael Smith; (2) instruct the court system (state or federal) on how to conduct a review of any proceeding before it; or (3) instruct the Attorney General of the State of North Carolina regarding the handling of any criminal matter. While cognizant of such, the City voluntarily provided to the defense attorney and state information developed in the course of the SPFCRC review, consistent with state and federal law, filed a civil action seeking authorization for public disclosure of confidential personnel information generated during that process and presented to the North Carolina Court of Appeals oral arguments in support of the trial court’s decision authorizing the release of said information. Public disclosure of the information has not occurred because the North Carolina Court of Appeals overruled the trial court’s decision.
Most recently, the Winston-Salem City Council has been approached by concerned citizens asking it to file an amicus brief in the federal habeas corpus proceeding of Kalvin Michael Smith. The City Council consulted with the City Attorney and her staff regarding the request. After careful and thorough deliberations, the Winston-Salem City Council, on the advice of the City Attorney, has decided to refrain from filing an amicus brief. The City Council’s opinion of the merits of Kalvin Michael Smith’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus would not be legally relevant to the federal court’s review of the petition.
This statement was prepared by Angela Carmon, City Attorney, on behalf of the Winston-Salem City Council.