Judge Keith Ellison, appointed by President Bill Clinton in 1999, upon receiving this case back on remand from the Fifth Circuit, ordered briefing from both parties following the opinion of the US Supreme Court decision of March 20, 2012, in the case of Martinez vs. Ryan. This review opens a door for the Courts to examine claims based on ineffective assistance of post-conviction counsel during the appellate or habeas corpus proceedings.
Until now, the courts have been resistant to recognize the applicability of the Martinez opinion of the Supreme Court. Thus, consideration of this request could open the possibilities for Robert Will to present evidence demonstrating the ineffectiveness of his court-appointed counsel at trial. The verdict led to his conviction for the death penalty.
Robert Will has always maintained his innocence. He maintains that the son of a prominent local policeman who was with him that night is the actual shooter.
In his January 17, 2012, Memorandum and Order, Judge Keith Ellison commented on the case as follows: "On top of the considerable evidence supporting Will's innocence and the important errors in the trial court, there must also be addressed the total absence of eyewitness testimony or strongly probative forensic evidence. With facts such as these, and only circumstantial evidence supporting Will's conviction and death sentence, the Court laments the strict limitations placed upon it." (Memorandum and Order, Judge Keith P. Ellison, January 17, 2012, Document # 88, p. 19.)