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.

Arkansas university students demand ‘Steps toward Justice’

Supporters of the West Memphis Three will assemble at the Arkansas State Capitol on Friday, April 20, in a rally organized by student activists at the University of Central Arkansas. The two-hour event, called Steps Toward Justice, will begin at noon. Organizers scheduled the rally as a way to give students, whose semester ends in […]

Kudos to a fine teacher

In January, Lanette Grate, faculty sponsor of the Demand Justice Panel at the University of Central Arkansas, was named a finalist for the Rachel Corrie Award for Courage in the Teaching of Writing. She was nominated for the award in part due to her work with the student panel, which has led discussions on the […]

Don’t miss documentary on Arkansas’s little known prison blood scandal

Arkansans will have a rare opportunity to see the award-winning documentary “Factor 8: the Arkansas Prison Blood Scandal” this weekend, when the film is presented in Little Rock as part of the Ozark Foothills Film Festival. Those who can’t make the showing can order the film. I was one of the first reporters to describe […]

Why I wrote about Byers, the confidential informant

Some readers have asked why I posted the article below at this time. The answer is that it was prompted by two other articles dealing with confidential informants that I wrote recently for the Arkansas Times: Bullet in the back and a related piece, Death under cover. The obscurity that surrounds confidential informants and their […]

The real occult element in the case of the WM3

John Mark Byers, once a suspect in the murders of Christopher Byers, Stevie Branch and Michael Moore, the three boys killed in West Memphis in 1993, was a police informant. Byers was the stepfather of Christopher, the only child who was sexually mutilated in the attack. In 1994, after three local teenagers were convicted of […]

WM3 prosecutor Brent Davis predicts hearings on ‘significance’ of new ‘consolidated’ DNA evidence

Brandi Hodges of KAIT in Jonesboro, AR, reported yesterday that Prosecuting Attorney Brent Davis is preparing for new hearings, as a result of DNA testing that has been performed on approximately 180 of evidence from the 1993 murders of three children in West Memphis. Davis told Hodges that, since the three men convicted in the […]

KARK interview

Here’s a short article posted on the Web site of KARK-TV in Little Rock: Author Speaks Out on New DNA in West Memphis Three Case Reported by: Sydney Hart, KARK 4 News 02/05/2007 03:53pm It’s still too early to speculate, but last week the attorney for Damien Echols told KARK 4 new scientific evidence could […]

Prison scandal update

Four more Arkansas prison employees left their jobs this week, as an investigation into the use of illegal computers and the sale of inmate assignments widened. A prison spokesman said a deputy warden, a field sergeant and a document examiner at the state’s Tucker Unit resigned and another document examiner was fired. Twelve employees at […]

Echols, Baldwin attorneys: ‘scientific evidence’ under review

Attorneys representing Damien Echols and Jason Baldwin wrote in separate emails today that DNA testing in their clients’ cases is essentially complete. They said they are now arranging to discuss the DNA findings and other “scientific evidence” with Arkansas officials, in preparation for future court filings. In response to a question about the status of […]

A soldier ‘tells’

Talk about military waste. Here’s one shapshot of what we’re squandering with “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” It comes from Pepe N. Johnson, of Dallas, TX, a member of Military Equality Alliance: I was a sergeant in the Army until I was kicked out in 2003. In 2001 I was selected as the Fort Sill (OK) […]