April 4, 2019
LANSING – The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals granted an emergency motion filed by Attorney General Dana Nessel late last month to revoke the release on bond of convicted murderer George Clark.
Clark was convicted of first-degree murder in 2003 for killing Michael Martin in Inkster. Clark challenged his conviction on appeal, through briefing and motions in the state courts, and at the federal level. All failed.
In 2015, Clark produced an affidavit from a woman named Kaneka Jackson which said that Jackson had seen the real killer and that it was not Clark. Jackson said she told her father, an Inkster police detective who has since passed away, what she had seen. Because Jackson’s father was a police officer, he had a duty to turn over any evidence that might show Clark to be innocent. But in her affidavit, Jackson says her father told her to keep quiet for her own safety.
A federal district judge relied on Jackson’s affidavit to issue an order in July 2018 saying that Clark’s rights were violated because information had been withheld and granted Clark a new trial.
The Michigan Department of Attorney General appealed the judge’s decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, arguing in part that the affidavit was not trustworthy and certainly not enough to set Clark free without a hearing. That appeal is pending.
In the meantime, Clark asked the district court to release him from prison on bond during the Attorney General’s appeal. The Attorney General opposed this request in part based on evidence provided by the Wayne County Prosecuting Attorney’s Conviction Integrity Unit that cast serious doubt on the veracity of Jackson’s affidavit. The Conviction Integrity Unit found that there may have been a romantic relationship between Clark and Jackson, that Clark told Jackson that he would pay her money from a lawsuit he would file under Michigan’s Wrongful Imprisonment Compensation Act, and that it was highly improbable that Jackson could have seen the killer from where she said she was at the time. The district court nonetheless ordered Clark be immediately released from prison pending the Attorney General’s appeal.
The Attorney General filed an emergency motion in the Sixth Circuit to revoke Clark’s release. In response, the Sixth Circuit issued an order that revoked Clark’s bond. Clark returned to prison on Monday, March 25, where he will remain pending a decision on the Attorney General’s appeal.
The Wayne County Prosecuting Attorney’s Conviction Integrity Unit was instrumental in independently investigating the case to determine if Clark could in fact be innocent. The Attorney General greatly appreciates the skillful work of the Conviction Integrity Unit led by Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Valerie Newman and created by Wayne County Prosecuting Attorney Kym Worthy that led to this dangerous prisoner being returned to prison.