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.
Hey, I could get behind that. I wish there were a law that said whenever someone works to free a convicted murderer from prison who then goes out and murders yet again, gets the same sentence as the murderer. Surely, you could get behind that?
Wrong, a jury convicted them and all of the appeals failed. End of story, let them rot.
I like both ideas.
First of all, you’re using specific instances where DNA could not be planted. I’m talking about dirty cops.
Second, I won’t continue to argue with someone who believes all cops are saints. Intelligent saints at that.
These cops were crooked. Any cop who would interrogate and threaten a retarded kid is a piece of crap.
I guess it’s useless talking to someone who says stuff like “a man’s conviction is overturned, therefore found not to have murdered, but goes out and murders AGAIN”. Goodbye.
And I would get behind that if it was someone idiot with a closed mind who refuses to look at facts. Someone, say, like you. See you on the gallows.
For some reason they didn’t video this interrogation with a retarded kid.
And for some reason the report taken by the cop at the fast food restaurant about a man coming in with blood all over him was lost. Plus, the cops weren’t even going to tell that but the employees came forward then they had to admit it. Just plain top flight police work, huh. Just wonderful cops who stand for law and order and the American way.
There won’t be a trial because the cops don’t want to admit they framed three kids. I hope the cops get what’s coming to them.
Wanta’ talk about the Yogurt Shop Murders in Austin? The original cop on the case says the cops who took over for him got a false confession. Why did he say that? One, there was no video. Two, this kid used the term “accelerant”. The cop said he knew that’s police lingo that the cops said the kid had said. The DA had to eventually drop the charges because there was no evidence. Only a trumped up confession by crooked cops. They do exist, you know. Oh, wait a minute. Not in your perfect little world.
Finally, I used to be a cop so don’t preach to me about how all cops are straight up guys. Lots of them will break the law to get a conviction. And that’s why I said I “used to be a cop”. I couldn’t stand by and watch it happen. But I also knew that I’d better not cross that thin blue line.
You are completely off base there - I am about as far from being of the opinion that all cops are saints as it is possible to be while not actively plotting against them.
Yes, dirty cops. From the movie “Knock Around Guys”....
“We are having trouble with a cop!”
“Yeah... a CORRUPT cop.”
“He said cop.”
i.e. “corrupt” as a modifier to “cop” was unnecessarily redundant.
I remember when people (i.e. stupid people) were saying that the blood from O.J. at the crime scene could have been planted. I was wondering how likely it was that the cops on scene had a vial of O.J.’s blood available to splatter around.
The specifics of this case are immaterial. You said it was easy for a cop to plant DNA evidence - I am still not seeing it.
That being said - I am all for “chain of custody” documentation such that the Police have almost no access AT ALL to any blood or otherwise biological samples of suspects.
Last thing we need is them having some “throwdown” DNA.
I think what the people were saying about the OJ blood is he gave a sample. The police booked it as a certain amount. Then later about half of it was missing. So they had an old retired technician on oxygen say in a video deposition that in all his years of taking blood samples he’d never made a mistake but he must have made a mistake this one time and wrote down more blood than he’d actually taken. I don’t know if the old man made a mistake for the first time in his life or not. But the jurors didn’t buy it.
I 'm a hard core supporter of the death penalty and have nothing but contempt for the anti death penalty clowns and fools.
That said I think that deliberate misconduct by officials in capital offenses should be severely punished
if what people are saying is true.then Kent Arnold and the others involved with him need to get life in prison at hard labor
So you think that sometime after the crime, sometime after the crime scene evidence was collected - OJ gave a blood sample - and then half of that was used to contaminate the crime scene and the crime scene evidence?
The contemporaneous cut on OJ’s hand was purely coincidental no doubt.
The OJ jury was infamously idiotic, partisan, and ignorant. Nice to know you keep good company.
Uh, it's not quite that simple. An innocent spent 17 years on death row, how do you recover that lost time? An innocent spent 17 years on death row, who will hire a convicted murderer?
You fill out a job application that asks the question "have you ever been convicted of a crime", if you answer yes, you're going to have to explain. You won't get the job. If you answer no and are hired and they find out you lied, you're fired.
So to address your statement, the innocent will be unjustly punished for the rest of his life...........just as he has been for the last 17 years. The only difference is that he gets to walk the street........
Would falsifying evidence be more serious than losing evidence that could have implicated another person completely and saved three individuals from 17 years of imprisonment?
Show me where I said anything like that. I said this is what the prosecution said happened with the blood sample and the jury didn’t buy it.
Nice to know you know the mind of every juror who ever reached a verdict. Man, you must be smart. You should run for president. You could have Biden as your veep.
I was hoping to learn the way it was “easy” for a cop to plant DNA evidence.
I go away disappointed.
But damned if I will ever smoke a cigarette around a cop! ;) I know a LEO followed a suspect and picked a discarded butt up off the ground - and they got a saliva match based upon that.
But this was a case - as is most common - where they HAVE DNA - but they don't have a match. They had a suspect - but not enough evidence to subpoena DNA. The court ruled that the suspect had no expectation of privacy regarding his DNA on a improperly discarded cigarette butt.
All unwarranted acrimony aside - I still would like to know how a cop can “easily” plant DNA evidence.
One thing about the OJ blood sample hypothesis is that such samples are preserved in a liquid state via anticoagulants - it would be quite detectable on any subsequent blood spots at a crime scene - if it was tested for.
So even if they had a vial of OJ blood to contaminate the crime scene with - it would itself be ‘contaminated’ with anticoagulants.
Well, smartboy....the blood DID have anticoagulant in it. Apparently you got all your information from Geraldo and Marsha Clark.
And I gave you an example of how it can be done. Now go find a cop whose butt you can kiss.
What EDTH that might have been there, and not a bleedover from bad LCMS, was orders of magnitude lower than in EDTH preserved blood.
There is no way to preserve blood in a liquid state at that low of level of EDTH.
So this is yet another example of how it CAN NOT be done - unless you have a jury of idiots and a good defense team - then you can make it sound plausible to the uninformed.
It definitely is useless talking to a lying hypocrite who goes around saying this conviction was overturned when it definitely WAS NOT.
I can see why such a person would be drummed off the police force but go right out and join the Hollywood buttboys.
He was just found innocent. How does that make him evil?
Two of the families came to believe the three did not do it.
Thank you for that post. We have some posting here that seem no better than an old west lynch mob.
“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.