Wednesday, September 08, 2010


Larry King did a show about the West Memphis Three last night, who I think I wrote about a while ago. FYI, you can get the whole story here if you are not familiar. Anyway, after I watched it I went to that website and read the brief written by the Attorney General opposing their bid for the new trial. Hate to say it, but I think (after a quick read and not knowing anything about law in AR) that they may be F'd, at least at this level and on this issue (also wondering, after 16 years how many appellate roads are actually left). Anyway, the issue now is appealing under Arkansas's statute regarding post-conviction DNA exonerations, which truthfully seems so restrictive that it feels like they were actually trying to LIMIT exonerations rather than allow them. In this case, the new DNA evidence is DNA from one of the kid's fathers and the kid's father's friend (and the absence of DNA from the WM3). Given that all 3 victims were under water it is surprising they found anything, and the finding of only DNA from someone who could have had incidental contact does not sound like it's going to clear the hurdle.

They also have presented a lot of new and very compelling stuff, (including strong evidence that the Dad whose DNA is found also lied to police about seeing the kids that day) but it sounds like the statute doesn't allow you to intermingle normal evidentiary challenges with this DNA challenge--in some sense, they got shot down earlier on normal appeal grounds (without knowing about the DNA) and now they can't raise normal appeal stuff with the DNA, and so no court is taking a full look at the case.

Maybe I've got all this confused--I skimmed a lot of info. But if I'm right (and even if I'm not, actually), it's going to take some serious courage from a Judge or Governor to do the right thing in this case.


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