Skip to comments.West Memphis 3 return to court and, perhaps, freedom (murdered three 8yo boys in 1993, now free)
Posted on 08/19/2011 8:15:35 AM PDT by DCBryan1
Much more to come later this morning from Jonesboro, where Circuit Judge David Laser will consider a plea bargain between the state and the West Memphis 3 that could bring their immediate release from prison after more than 17 years.
If the judge approves and this is an all-important if the defendants will leave still convicted of first-degree murder for slaying three eight-year-old West Memphis boys in 1993. This will leave their staunchest defenders unhappy and offend even many less interested who will take offense at convictions for crimes that Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley Jr. and Jason Baldwin will still say they did not commit.
The alternative to freedom for time served is to risk losing their appeal for a new trial and to remain in prison for life, or, in Echols' case, execution.
I mentioned yesterday that a no-contest plea is one way to produce a conviction without an admission of guilt by defendants. Another is an obscure legal maneuver, a functional equivalent of a nolo contendere plea known as an "Alford plea," which is to be made in court today, our sources say. Here's a full discussion. It is, in short, a guilty plea where the defendant does not admit the crime. Check the link for further details. It requires a case in which likelihood of conviction is high (it certainly was here, having already occurred), though this would be a novel, perhaps unique use of it after the fact.
Meanwhile: Lindsey Millar has compiled an exhaustive summary of the Arkansas Times' coverage of this case over the years. It consists primarily of Mara Leveritt's dogged and important reporting. Her reporting and her book, "Devil's Knot," were key elements in the chain of events that could lead to freedom today. Celebrity interest, HBO movies and the recent rump organizing by dozens of Arkansas lawyers in behalf of freedom were also factors that helped move events.
Mara Leveritt is Twittering this morning and also writing for her blog. She'll be filing reports to the Arkansas Blog as well, so you can get her coverage right here.
“Being locked up entails being suspected of a crime in the first place, and being arrested, and beng tried, and being convicted. So far me and mine have avoided all such entanglements as far back as anyone can recall. It’s actually fairly easy to do, although fewer and fewer bother with it since the courthouses installed revolving doors. I’m far more concerned about the damnable guilty roaming free, of which there are thousands upon thousands, than I am about my miniscule chance of being accidentally caught in the gears of the “system”. “
How do you spell “naïveté” free republic style? See above. Why not google “John Kaza” to see an example of how out of the blue, people can be arrested, held without reasonable bail, and tortured with permanent injuries without a smidgeon of credible evidence.
You’re not unintelligent, sir, just naive. Sure there is recourse to courts in some cases, but they can only give money. Around here we believe in the Constitution and the principles set forth therein, and one saying coming from those principles is “Better 10 guilty go free than one innocent be imprisoned wrongly.”
Perhaps you are a fan of a leader of the 30’s who promised to eliminate crime. He did by rounding up everyone who had ever been even charged with crime. You could leave your doors open even if you lived in a big city like Los Angeles, er, no make that Berlin....oh wait, nevermind.
We were on our way back to Little Rock when we heard they were released.
My wife knew a lot more about it than I did since her hometown is an hour west of West Memphis and her mother was always filling her in.
It seemed they rushed the prosecution 18 years ago, mostly because one of the three supposedly confessed. Being Arkansas, they probably didn’t want to spend the money (more expensive back then and not as reliable) on DNA test.
So now they agreed to “acknowledge” their “guilt” based on the prosecution evidence in order to be declared “innocent” by the court. ? Huh ?
The local news stations in Little Rock were reporting this was a way for the state to cover their butts in a law suit.