SUPREME COURT JOCKEYING BEGINS
Arkansas Supreme Court Associate Justice Tom Glaze apparently has decided to retire at the end of 2010. That creates a seat on the court and lawyers have received letters recently that Circuit Judge John Fogleman will be a candidate for the seat. Fogleman, a former prosecutor, lives in Marion and sits on cases in Clay, Craighead, Crittenden, Greene, Mississippi and Poinsett counties.
Judge Fogleman has a bit of history connected with one of Arkansas’s most famous criminal cases.
Fogleman assisted Prosecutor Brent Davis in the prosecution of the West Memphis Three, the then-youths convicted of slaying three West Memphis boys. An appeal of Damien Echols’ conviction and death sentence is still active.
Mara Leveritt, who wrote a book on the case that spawned a widely watched HBO special, thinks prosecutors in that case still should be called to account for a number of decisions. One was the use of a co-defendant’s statement that prosecutors knew was factually inaccurate. Another was Fogleman’s last minute decision to search the lake for weapons, a search that turned up a knife that Fogleman tried to link to the deaths. The supposedly secret lake search just happened to produce a page one photograph for the local newspaper of a diver triumphantly holding a knife aloft. She also is highly critical of the prosecutors’ decision to use a dubious expert witness to inject devil worship in the trial to shore up a lack of solid evidence. Fogleman underscored this in closing arguments by emphasizing such points as Echol’s habit of wearing black clothing. On such evidence, Fogleman told jurors, “You see inside that person. And you look inside and there’s not a soul there.”
Leverett says Fogleman quickly made use of his “tough decisions in tough cases” in campaigning for a circuit judgeship shortly after a second trial of the WM3. She writes, “In the long run, I believe, many of Fogelman’s ‘tough decisions’ will be regarded as ethically crass, politically opportunistic, and legally underhanded.”