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.


“I don’t trust a man who uses the word evil eighteen times in ten minutes. If you’re half evil, nothing soothes you more than to think the person you are opposed to is totally evil.” —Norman Mailer, author (1923-2007)

Texas court did what Burnett’s court would not

Last May, a Collin County court in Texas dismissed capital murder charges against Michael Blair who had been on death row for the 1993 murder of Ashley Estell. After more than a decade of legal appeals and requests for DNA testing, the hair evidence that had been used to convict Blair was shown to be […]

‘Negative evidence’ should cut both ways

In the case of Damien Echols, at least, the Arkansas judiciary is facing its last opportunity to do something right. If history is any guide, we should expect that it will fail. Judge David Burnett above stayed true to form, and now the Arkansas Supreme Court will be asked to consider whether, when considered with […]

Lawyers for Echols to take final appeal to Arkansas Supreme Court

Lawyers for Damien Echols will take their appeal to the Arkansas Supreme Court in the wake of a ruling this month by Circuit Judge David Burnett, who ruled that new DNA evidence presented by Echols was insufficient to warrant a new trial. So far, in every appeal in the West Memphis case that has gone […]

Secret affidavit in Echols/Baldwin case hides a bombshell

It would be big news if a former Arkansas prosecuting attorney were to publicly admit that he has known for the past 14 years of serious misconduct by jury foreman Kent Arnold (shown here) that tainted the trial of Damien Echols and Jason Baldwin—a trial that ended with Echols being sentenced to death and Baldwin […]

From this week’s Arkansas Times

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 […]

WM3 supporters run for U.S. Senate and Arkansas legislature

Wendy Crow and Mary Boley, two veteran activists on behalf of the WM3, are running for seats in the Arkansas House of Representatives as candidates of the state’s Green Party. Crow, of Jasper, and Boley, of Russelville, have long been associated with ARWAR, Arkansans Working to Achieve Revolution. ARWAR was the first Arkansas group to […]

Reason prevails–but not in Arkansas

The cases bear remarkable similarities: A man who was a teenager at the time, convicted of a murder and sexual mutilation, without a piece of physical evidence tying him to the crime. The defendant’s drawings used against him at trial. Allegations that a public official lied under oath and failed to turn over to the […]

A rare court ruling; but the perp’s still working in the courthouse

Dan Harmon, the former prosecuting attorney whose deceit lurks at the heart of my book, “The Boys on the Tracks,” has spent his time in prison for racketeering and conspiracy. When he first returned to his home in Benton, Arkansas, he got a job working an early shift as a cook at a local Waffle […]

Was It Rape?

My article about accusations against Ron Fields, a former Arkansas attorney general, appears in this week’s Arkansas Times. I welcome your comments. Appearing with the story was this account of the prosecution of Rolf Kaestel by Fields, and what has happened to Kaestel since he was sent to the Arkansas Department of Correction.