Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Gregory Williams

Other Texas No Crime Exonerations
On November 14, 2017, officials in Lubbock, Texas, charged 55-year-old Gregory Williams with failure to register as a sex offender. The charge was based on Williams’s guilty plea on December 6, 1979, to first-degree burglary of a habitation with intent to commit rape.

Williams was 16 years old at the time of the incident, and 17 years old when he entered a plea. He was initially placed on probation for 10 years, but his probation was revoked a year later, and he was sentenced to eight years in prison. He was released in 1988.

Williams was subsequently convicted of two other burglaries and sentenced to prison. He was released on parole in 2007. Represented by attorney Jim Shaw, Williams pled guilty to the registration charge on March 6, 2018. He received a sentence of two years in prison. In addition, the new charge triggered a parole violation on the burglaries, so Williams remained in prison after he completed his sentence on the 2018 conviction. He was released on February 17, 2022.

In 2023, attorneys with the Texas Tech Innocence Clinic filed a state petition for a writ of habeas corpus, asking the court to vacate Williams’s conviction for failure to register.

The petition said that Williams was innocent because his requirement to register had expired years earlier. Under Texas law, juveniles convicted of sex crimes were required to register for only 10 years after the discharge of their sentence, not for life. In Williams’s case, that meant his obligation ended in 1998.

In a court filing, Williams said that Shaw never asked Williams about his age at the time of the underlying burglary conviction and did not discover that information through other channels.

“Mr. Shaw’s deficient performance was prejudicial,” said a joint motion for relief filed by William’s attorneys and the Lubbock County District Attorney’s Office. “Based on his failure to understand the underlying facts, counsel advised Mr. Williams to plead guilty when he had not committed any crime. Mr. Williams followed counsel’s advice.”

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted the petition on November 1, 2023, vacating Williams’s conviction. A judge dismissed the charge on December 1, 2023.

– Ken Otterbourg

Report an error or add more information about this case.

Posting Date: 4/19/2024
Last Updated: 4/19/2024
Most Serious Crime:Sex Offender Registration
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2017
Sentence:2 years
Age at the date of reported crime:55
Contributing Factors:Inadequate Legal Defense
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No