Friday, August 19, 2011

Breaking News: West Memphis Three Released

I was just over at the very worthy law blog, Talk Left, looking for a reference for a post that I'm putting together, and this story was at the top of the page. Do pay the blog a visit for details of the case, there is much to be found there, on this and other cases of injustice.

As I say, this is breaking news, and whereas there are but three comments as yet, one of which I'm going to borrow because it echoes my feelings exactly, there will be plenty more soon enough on what used to be, I don't know whether it still is, a very vibrant comments section.

This seems to me to be an extortion for their freedom. "Plead guilty and we will let you go, insist on your innocent, and remain in jail."

To me if they are letting someone who was on death row, and two lifers out, they don't believe they did the crime. So why make them cop to anything, they have served over 15 years.

Update: West Memphis 3: Alford Pleas for Freedom, Release

West Memphis 3 to Be Released
By Jeralyn, Section Innocence Cases
Thu Aug 18, 2011

A surprise hearing has been scheduled tomorrow for the West Memphis 3 , Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley and Jason Baldwin. A gag order is in place, but WREG reports that two of them, including Damien Echols who was sentenced to death, will be released. Reports are that a plea deal has been arrived at under which all three would plead guilty to lesser charges and two would be released. Some reports say all three would be released immediately. The reports emanate from the families of the murdered youths, who were told about the deal but asked not to discuss it until tomorrow. The three have already been moved from their respective prisons for tomorrow's hearing in Jonesboro:

The Arkansas Department of Corrections says all three have left their prisons and are now in the custody of the Craighead County Sheriff's Office, taking all their belongings with them.

The Court released this statement:

The court will take up certain matters pertaining to the cases of defendants Baldwin, Echols and Misskelley on Friday, August 19, 2011. One session will be conducted out of public presence with all defendants present, and another session will be conducted in open court. The session conducted in chambers will likely begin at 10 a.m., followed by a public session, which will begin about 11 a.m. Space will be limited for the public session, first to the parties, counsel, and court personnel, then to family members of the victims and family members of defendants, with remaining seating to be occupied by media representatives and the public. There will be approximately fifteen (15) minutes between the chamber session and open session for media and public to be seated.”

The Arkansas Supreme Court ordered a new evidentiary hearing in the case which was set for December. The hearing could have resulted in new trials being ordered. No DNA links to the WM3 to the murders.

The WM3 website has this description of the injustices in the case, as taken from their February, 2011 brief. If you are not familiar with the case, here's their summary. Talk Left WM3

It was Talk Left and reading about the injustices there, that influenced the direction of my blogging ''career.''

I use the Exonerated tag loosely, because in the real world they have been exonerated, all be it eighteen years down the road.

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