Entries by Mara Leveritt

The politics of death

Arkansas requires more training for drivers, cosmetologists and mold investigators than it does for coroners. In fact, the state requires nothing—no training, no testing, not even a background check—for county officials who investigate deaths. I raise this topic now because, presumably, according to Circuit Judge David Laser’s order, certain evidence from the case of the […]

How a man in Denmark, troubled by the case of the WM3, created an invaluable online archive of it

Christian Hansen, a laborer in Denmark, loves Clint Eastwood.  He admires the actor’s work so much that an online friend nicknamed him “Callahan” after Eastwood’s character in the “Dirty Harry” movies. He never imagined that the little website he formed as a repository for documents about the case of the West Memphis Three would become […]

Threatened again: Can the Arkansas Supreme Court hold me in contempt for complaining about shabby justice?

Last week I wrote a letter to the Arkansas Supreme Court’s Committee of Professional Conduct, the body that is supposed to make sure that Arkansas attorneys are practicing law as they should. I asked the committee to investigate whether it was proper for Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel to advocate on behalf of convictions that […]

Moral twilight zone: Complaint of ‘impropriety’ filed against Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel

Today, I sent the following letter to the Arkansas Supreme Court’s Committee on Professional Conduct. It asks the committee to investigate whether Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel and his deputy attorney general, David Raupp, have violated their constitutional duties and the court’s rules of professional conduct for attorneys by continuing to support the jury verdicts in the trial […]

A juror’s affidavit: ‘Damien Echols seemed to me to be Satan walking alive’

‘Satan walking alive’ On June 7, 2004, one of the jurors in the trial of Damien Echols and Jason Baldwin signed an affidavit that will become a key piece of evidence at the evidentiary hearing in December. The affidavit supports other evidence of juror misconduct at the men’s trial and illustrates the effectiveness of prosecutors’ […]

Arkansas attorney general to “rely” on statements by Jessie Misskelley

Arkansas Attorney General  Dustin McDaniel told Circuit Judge David Laser this month that prosecutors will “rely” on statements made by Jessie Misskelley, Jr., at the upcoming evidentiary hearing.  “By way of example,” McDaniel filed with the court a statement Misskelley made under oath after his conviction. Before, after and since his trial, Misskelley has given […]

State versus science: Recent court filings offer glimpse of the hearing ahead

The Arkansas Supreme Court has told state prosecutors and attorneys for the West Memphis Three that they can bring “all” the evidence they consider important into the evidentiary hearing set to begin in December. Will the state again introduce Satan, as it did when the men were convicted? [private]Remember that the arrests were predicated entirely […]

State said to have ‘recently’ tested blood on Misskelley shirt; defense seeks FBI report; location of evidence questioned

A spokesman for Damien Echols said today that “within the last year,” state officials sent a t-shirt that was found in the home of Jessie Misskelley, Jr. in 1993 to a laboratory for DNA testing. The shirt was reportedly tested without defense attorneys’ knowledge and after state officials had notified them that all post-conviction DNA […]