On January 12, 1999, Corey Livsey was arrested for shoplifting in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. He immediately cut a deal with police to act as an informant by buying drugs from Gyronne Buckley, whom police suspected was a cocaine dealer.
That night, Livsey made the first alleged purchase of cocaine from Buckley while wearing a concealed body microphone, buying two rocks for $40. He said he made a similar purchase the following day.
Buckley was arrested on January 14, 1999 and charged with two counts of delivery of a controlled substance.
He went on trial in May 1999 in Clark County Circuit Court. Livsey testified about the transactions and police officers testified that they provided money to Livsey and later inventoried the cocaine.
Buckley testified on his own behalf, as did his mother, his nephew and one of his friends. He said that on January 12, Livsey came to his house and pulled cash out of his pocket and he told Livsey to put it away. He said they conversed about Livsey’s girlfriend and he left. Buckley said that on the following day, he was repairing a water faucet at his mother’s house and had no interaction with Livsey.
Buckley was convicted by a jury and sentenced to two consecutive terms of life in prison. On appeal, his convictions were upheld, but the case was remanded for resentencing and he received two consecutive terms of 28 years in prison.
Buckley lost his direct appeal. He later filed a federal petition for a writ of habeas corpus alleging that one of the officers testified that he had seen Livsey do things that would have been physically impossible for him to see. Buckley also alleged that a videotape of Livsey prepared prior to Buckley’s trial revealed that Livsey could not remember details of the transactions and police officers gave him the details.
After the U.S. District Court ordered the videotape turned over to the defense, Buckley’s lawyers discovered more than three dozen discrepancies between Livsey's statements on the videotape and his testimony at trial.
Based on the new evidence, Buckley’s conviction was vacated on November 1, 2010. The charges were dismissed and he was released.
In 2013, Buckley filed a claim for compensation before the Arkansas Claims Commission. In December 2013, the Commission recommended Buckley be awarded $460,000. The award must be approved by the state legislature before it becomes final.
– Maurice Possley