Entries by Mara Leveritt

No snakes in heaven

Misskelley reflects on work, chow and how much he’s changed since his sentence [private]Jessie Misskelley, Jr. wakes up at 2:30 a.m. Most of the time, he doesn’t go to breakfast. “I just don’t like it,” he says. Six days a week, he works in the laundry at the prison system’s Varner Unit, in southeast Arkansas. […]

Jason Baldwin on being free: Arkansas Times video interview, Jan. 14, 2011

The Arkansas Times is the only publication that has consistently voiced concern about the trials of Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley, Jr.—and called for a court review of their cases.  Now that the Arkansas Supreme Court has ordered that review, the Times editors, foreseeing a critical year ahead, sought interviews and photographs of the men. They were denied interview with Echols […]

MLK: ‘I am in Birmingham because injustice is here.’

If you have not read (or recently re-read) Dr. Martin Luther King’s 1963 “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” this holiday in his honor might be a good time to do it. King later wrote that he composed his famous letter “under somewhat constricting circumstances,” after his arrest during a civil rights demonstration. The letter was in response to a letter […]

Blood evidence on inmate Echols

The severity of policies at Arkansas’s Supermax can be seen in prisoners’ wounds [private]Damien Echols lifts the white pant’s leg of his prison uniform to show a visitor his sock. Even through the glass that separates them, the visitor can see that the sock is stained by fresh red. Echols stretches out his arms, exposing […]

Judge imposes new gag order, in case of possible new trial for WM3.

At a scheduling conference today in circuit court in Jonesboro, Judge David Laser ordered attorneys representing Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley Jr. to file briefs with him by Feb. 18 regarding issues to be addressed at the evidentiary hearing that was ordered last September by the Arkansas Supreme Court.

Laser said he was “giving this case priority” and that he wanted to “get this done as soon as possible.” Laser was appointed to hear the case because the previous judge, David Burnett, was elected to the state Senate.

The conference took place with some attorneys appearing in person and others by speaker phone. Ten lawyers participated in all — four for the state and two each for the three men, known as the West Memphis Three.

As issues to be considered were discussed, Laser said, “As I look at it, they [justices of the Supreme Court] basically want this case pre-tried through the court.” He added, “I’m certainly not limiting what can be presented. If there are additional issues or evidence that needs to come in, they will come in.”

At last! A ruling in the WM case that makes sense!

This is a day we’ve been waiting for, and I want to tell everyone how proud I am of the effort that has resulted in this first, critical step toward justice. The Arkansas Supreme Court could not have been more clear in its repudiation of the reasons Judge David Burnett and the office of Attorney […]

Arkansas Supreme Court orders re-examination of case for a new trial for the WM3; “all” evidence must be considered

The Arkansas Supreme Court this morning delivered its opinion that Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley Jr. did not receive fair hearings when they appeared before Judge David Burnett seeking new trials. The court issued separate rulings in all three cases. Here are some significant parts of those opinions. In the case of Damien […]