Four weeks to the date when Jessica Williams won a Nevada Supreme Court motion to reduce her minimum sentence, Las Vegas Tribune heard directly from Williams who has been incarcerated at the Nevada State Prison since 2000 when she fell asleep at the wheel of her van and ran down six teenagers doing community service for crimes of their own.
Williams explained that her attorney, John Watkins, filed last year a motion in District Court, but it was denied; later appealing it to the Nevada Supreme Court who granted the motion.
Watkins, who, more than a dozen times has denied to Las Vegas Tribune that he is still the attorney of record for Williams, has been defending the former Las Vegas entertainer from day one when she had the misfortune of running down those six young people with her van after a trip to the Valley of Fire, 49.9 miles from Las Vegas.
The teens were on the side of the Interstate 15 fulfilling a court ordered community service for a crime of their own, but the guards watching the teens had not provided yellow jackets, and the county van that was transporting the teen did not have the flashing lights to alerts motorists of the working on the side of the highway.
The county was as guilty as Williams may have been, but no one from the county was sent to prison when they bought their freedom with money and settled for $250,000 per kid, which was five times the amount of their liability!
The system went to work and put all the blame on the young entertainer who had smoked some marijuana that today can be bought anywhere, despite the fact that the jury found her not guilty for driving under the influence, but shamefully the county stuck it to her for falling asleep.
Thanks to Jessica Williams’ attorney, John Watkins, Las Vegas Tribune had the privilege of meeting, visiting and interviewing the young lady one on one at the Clark County Detention Center back in 2000 after her arrest and found her to be very remorseful for what had happened; the newspaper has, from time to time, kept in communication with Williams and follow the trajectory of all her appeals and the court opinions.
In the appeal a three-justice panel of the court ruled that “good time” credits earned in prison apply to minimum sentences, not just the maximum.
The Nevada Supreme Court ruling reversed the District Court finding that prisoners need to serve the minimum time sentenced before becoming eligible for parole.
Williams is serving time on the fifth of the six sentences, having been paroled from the first four. She is serving as a trustee at the Casa Grande Transitional Housing facility in Las Vegas.
Williams acknowledged smoking marijuana two hours prior to the incident, but said she was not impaired and had fallen asleep behind the wheel of her van.
While interviewed by a Nevada Highway Patrol officer responding to the accident, Williams admitted to the officer that she had some leftover pot in the van and the officer asked her to go and retrieve the pot from the van; many people believe that if the officer would have believed that she was impaired, he would not have asked her to go to her van to get the evidence.