THE WEST MEMPHIS THREE: Echols, Misskelley and Baldwin in current Brian Chilson photos.
David Laser holds the hearing in Jonesboro, today. The families of the accused and the victims are expected in court, which covers much more than routine procedural matters are at hand.
None of the interested parties to speak the lawyers are re framed from talking , as well as those who say that they are interested, and want to be present. But I started calling this morning when I received a tip from a local lawyer to predict this development is an unbelievable outcome, The 3 have always proclaimed there innocence.
The judge’s office released this statement in Friday’s hearing:
The Court will discuss issues relating to the case of the accused Baldwin, Echols and Misskelley Friday, August 19 A session will be hosted by the presence of the public with all these defendants, and another session will be held in open court. The session conducted in the departments will likely start at 10:00 followed by a public meeting will begin at 11:00 a.m. The space will be limited to the public meeting – only for the parties, lawyers and court staff and family members of victims and members of the family of the accused with the seats remaining to be filled by the media and the public. There will be approximately 15 minutes between each session room and an open session for the media and the public to remain seated. Miss Stephanie Harris, Arkansas Supreme solicitor will be present Friday to help the implementation and will be the intermediary between the court and the public and the press.
UPDATE: An Arkansas Correction Department spokesman confirms that the three defendants left the prison’s Super Max unit today in the custody of Craighead County officers for the hearing. The spokesman says the inmates took all their possessions with them. She said inmates leaving with all possessions was “unusual,” but not unprecedented. She said it was the first time all three of the defendants had left the prison together since their incarceration.
Scott Ellington, now prosecutor in the case, will be in court tomorrow, but is also gagged, a spokesman said in response to a question about whether he still favored fighting to keep the convictions in place. Actions by McDaniel and Ellington both have political tentacles. McDaniel is to run for governor in 2014. Ellington has been weighing a race for Congress next year.
“An update” that it has had sources confirm that an agreement has been reached that would produce the release of two of the three defendants, but hasn’t yet provided other details. Our sources continue to indicate the deal covers all three defendants and that one discussion included the state agreeing to the motion for a new trial in return for an agreement from defendants to plead to charges that would qualify them for release for time served. By still having a conviction — a prospect the staunchest WM3 defenders can’t stomach — the defendants would be unable to seek damages for false imprisonment or to participate in profits from books or movies about the case. A common plea bargain tactic is to allow a nolo contendere, or no contest plea, to a criminal charge, which is a way of getting a conviction without an admission of guilt. But it would be highly unusual 18 years after a conviction.
The facts are well known. Echolsn Damien, who is on death row, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley Jr., who sit in life sentences, convicted in 1993, killing three children West Memphis – Christopher Byers, Stevie Branch and Michael Moore. Studies, but has been marked by false claims of Satanism and poor investigative tactics, which lasted until the appeals of the recent developments can be considered the DNA evidence. So far, none of the DNA collected, fit any of the defendants. This does not absolve them, but it was a new and stronger evidence that they were not involved in criminal activities. Strong new evidence was presented to the potential jury misconduct, in particular the abuse of the declaration of an accused. All this has been the Arkansas Supreme Court ordered a new hearing test whether the defendants were entitled to a retrial. Judge Lasers task is to address the issue.
The evidentiary hearing was scheduled for December. The only surprise indicates a great change is at hand. The talk of the defense lawyers in the community is that the news is beyond great. To date, the Attorney General Dustin McDaniel fought vigorously against the new procedures for the defendants and in support of their convictions. Development of the morning when he joined a proposal made by the defense would be memorable. Freedom of the WM3? Speculation has this possibility, although there are many questions about how to get that result and if so, it would express an opinion on the guilt or innocence or the responsibility of the state.