The Mara Leveritt Blog

Mara has written extensively on criminal justice in Arkansas and America. Mara writes regularly about “cryptolaw,” a word she coined to explain how plain language is often distorted by members of the legal system to the detriment of public trust.

Chosen by the Southeast Region of the American Board of Trial Advocates in 2012, Mara was named Journalist of the Year, “in recognition of her years of unbiased reporting of the facts and legal arguments in many high-profile court proceedings and her persistent efforts to explain to the public the reasoning underlying sometimes controversial court decisions.”

Major topics on the Mara Leveritt Blog include the West Memphis Three case, the Tim Howard case, Abuse of Power by members of the legal system, the Death Penalty, the War on Drugs and much more. Use the list in the right hand column to explore them all.

Patrick and Kara Benca Issue 7 Arkansas Marijuana Ballot

Fired-up: Benca responds to marijuana proposal stricken from ballot

The battle between Arkansas proponents of the two medical marijuana efforts that will appear on the ballot has gotten hotter since the state supreme court struck one of them—Issue 7—after a lawsuit challenging it was filed by Little Rock attorney Kara Benca, with the support of her husband, Patrick Benca, who is also an attorney. […]

Tim Howard Beginners's Blog

Mail call

It is really good hear from some of you. A few people have asked specific questions. One person even said that I could write to them. If someone doesn’t mind me writing and would like to write letters, that is just fine with me. I love writing letters and meeting new people.

Tim Howard Beginners's Blog

On Cows and Carpentry

I ended up being assigned to Dairy. Well, after reading so many cowboy books and seeing Elsie commercials, I thought CRAP! Turns out though, the Dairy was a balm to my soul. It put me outside and working with cows, which I love. The job I was hired to do was take care of newborn calves.

Tim Howard Beginners's Blog

“A Separate Peace” discussion?

Anyone care to discuss “A Separate Peace” with an inmate reading it for the first time? Varner Prison, where Tim now lives, is a rough, often violent place. Tim takes refuge in books. Not many folks around him share that appreciation, so he hungers for any “book talk.”

Tim Howard Beginners's Blog

Super Bowl Sunday

It is Super Bowl Sunday. And since my NE Patriots didn’t make the cut, I’m rooting for Carolina. However I won’t watch the game because three hours of football is just a little too much for me. I’d like to view the commercials but extra-curricular activity in the area makes tv viewing undesirable.

Tim Howard Beginners's Blog

Tim Howard Beginner’s Blog

I’m not totally clear about how to do a blog, so please bear with me. I’m assuming that if you’re reading this, you must have some knowledge of who I am and where I am. So what I’ll do is try to give some kind of overview as to who I am. I’ll answer any questions asked about prison life if I can.

Free Birds

Jason sent this selfie he took from a hike on Mt. Ranier on Monday. Quite a gentle image, don’t you think, from a guy Arkansas insists is a killer?

Not guilty of capital murder, Tim Howard likely to be freed this week

After 17 years in isolation, more than 14 of them on death row, Tim Howard will likely be freed this week. On Friday, seven minutes before midnight, a Little River County jury sentenced Howard to 38 years in prison, after finding him guilty of second-degree murder in the 1997 deaths of both Brian and Shanon Day.

Bryan Chesshir

As Tim Howard trial nears, defense team claims prosecutor abusing power

Jury selection will start Thursday in Ashdown in the re-trial of Tim Howard, whose 1999 conviction and death sentence for murdering two friends was vacated in 2013 due to prosecutor misconduct. Circuit Judge Charles Yeargan is also expected to rule on a second defense motion that alleging further prosecutor misconduct.

Tim Howard trial delayed; Judge fumes over evidence issues

Tuesday, an Arkansas circuit judge ordered the Tim Howard trial delayed on charges of murder because a key witness will be unavailable the week of March 2, when the new trial was to begin. It is now scheduled to start on April 23. Judge Charles Yeargan denied a motion by Howard’s attorneys to dismiss the charges.