Members of Arkansas Take Action, a group critical of the trials that resulted in murder convictions for Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley, Jr., walked out of a press conference held Monday at the state capitol by Judge John Fogelman to announce his candidacy for the Arkansas Supreme Court. (See video here.)
In 1994, Fogelman, then a deputy prosecuting attorney, helped win the convictions of Echols, Baldwin and Misskelley, who were teenagers at the time. In the years since, Fogelman has often stated that he believes the three are guilty.
Those protesting at Fogelman’s announcement wore T-shirts that read “Abuse of Power.” The protesters walked out of the confenence room as Fogelman read his campaign announcement to the media.
After the event, Brent Peterson, a Little Rock restaurateur, said that members of ATA believe Fogelman abused the power of his office when he prosecuted Echols, Baldwin and Misskelley.
Fogelman said his candidacy was about who was the best candidate for the state supreme court—not about the trials of the men now known as the West Memphis Three. Members of the ATA countered that decisions Fogelman made as a prosecutor are relevant to the campaign and speak to his character.