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  1. #1
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    Exclamation So the State initiated that Alford Plea?

    It now emerges that it was at the suggestion of the state that an Alford Plea be considered.

    Two things spring to mind.

    Firstly, it had to have been an offer 'too good to refuse'.

    Secondly, and way more importantly, it reveals that no arm twisting was needed to allow the release of the three for time served.

    To my mind this reinforces my already firm belief that, behind all the twists and turns and mind games, the state are fully aware that the three did not commit the crimes for which they were convicted.

    "I said, hey, if they want to resolve this case and get their guys out of prison now, let them come forward with some other offer that they would plead guilty and then we can discuss that," said Ellington.
    Read the complete article here


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  3. #2
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    Ellington: Money a factor in 'West Memphis 3' deal

    http://www.fox16.com/news/local/stor...A.cspx?rss=315
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    Life in San Franciso is still just life. -Gus (Lonesome Dove)


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  5. #3
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    Interestinger and interestinger! It all leaves a very nasty smell indeed.

    Good that they are out but, more importantly,it is critical that this case not be allowed to be 'forgotten' for the sake of others to come.

    It will not 'go away'. Justice MUST prevail and NOT apparent Arkansas style but the real thing. Although I am starting to think that there are some in Arkansas who are unaware of what that is. Too sad.


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  7. #4
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    Interestinger and interestinger! It all leaves a very nasty smell indeed.

    Good that they are out but, more importantly,it is critical that this case not be allowed to be 'forgotten' for the sake of others to come.

    It will not 'go away'. Justice MUST prevail and NOT apparent Arkansas style but the real thing. Although I am starting to think that there are some in Arkansas who are unaware of what that is. Too sad.


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  9. #5
    Ellington intimated as much back in August, 2011, at the Clinton School Q & A and again in the December, 2011, GQ article. It's good to see it in print once again. I hope that the citizens of Arkansas make this case an albatross around his neck until he has the charges dropped and their names cleared!


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  11. #6
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    Ooops! Double post ~ my apologies!


  12. #7
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    I have trouble believing it is ethical for an attorney general to accept a plea bargain just to save the State the potential cost of a wrongful conviction lawsuit.


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  14. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nova View Post
    I have trouble believing it is ethical for an attorney general to accept a plea bargain just to save the State the potential cost of a wrongful conviction lawsuit.
    Agreed, but I have an even greater problem accepting that the original convictions were allowed to go through in the way that they did back in 1994. The whiff of corruption at the very heart of all this is getting stronger and stronger.
    Has anyone else before been released off Death Row with a guilty plea in American Legal history? I seem to remember reading that this was a 'first' in terms of the Alford Plea being used this way. It is more normally used as a cost saving ploy at the plea bargaining phase prior to trial, I seem to remember. And pretty obscure one, at that!


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  16. #9
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    My apologies if this question seems stupid, but since the plea is going through, can others be tried for this crime or will it be considered closed? Sorry, I'm just really hoping for some justice here..

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  18. #10
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    Sadly,as the state officially has the three 'guilty pleas' they are under no legal obligation to further investigate the case or even consider another perp.

    Hopefully 'West of Memphis' might 'encourage' them to consider doing the right thing and clean up the judicial mess they have in their own back yard.

    Nove, this case will NOT go away, as much as the Arkansas Judiciary wants it to. Not as long as there are supporters, world wide AND in AR who are prepared to stand up and be counted. So there is always hope.

    The new book 'Untying the Knot: John Mark Byers and The West Memphis Three' by Greg Day is now available on Amazon. JMB will not cease his call for justice here.
    Last edited by Miranda!; 05-25-2012 at 06:54 AM. Reason: typo!


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  20. #11
    I didn't want to start yet another new thread. So, since this article discusses the Alford Plea, I'm putting a link here. It's a little long, but it really lays out the case well.

    http://wm3org.typepad.com/files/the-...plea-saved.pdf


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  22. #12
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    SmoothOperator is offline Sadly what connects all these puzzles is that there's a victim@the heart of each
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    According to Steven Braga it was him that came up with the idea, initiated it, and was shocked when it was accepted..
    While reading the this thread I recalled having watched a few of the 48hrs episodes and recalled that Braga spoke specifically that it was he who orchestrated the Alford Plea.. not going to argue if someone says different but simply stating that Braga, himself is stated on camera and quoted both multiple times that he was the genius behind the Alford Plea and again that he was shocked when it worked..
    "The way the deal was circulated, we were the ones who initiated it on behalf of Damien Echols. "
    http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-3480_162-20094938.html

    And here's the video of him claiming he was the one who thought of and initiated the Alford Plea.
    But then, attorney Stephen Braga comes up with an idea to get Damien out: a rarely used legal procedure in which a defendant proclaims innocence and yet pleads guilty: the Alford Plea.
    Video with Braga's statements :
    [ame="http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7381432n&tag=contentBody;storyMediaBox"]West Memphis 3: Free - 48 Hours - CBS News[/ame]
    The quickest way to become a fool is to argue with one..


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  24. #13
    I believe that the point here is that the defense didn't come up with the Alford Plea out of the clear blue. The defense's original proposal, submitted to Dustin McDaniel by Patrick Benca over lunch, was that the evidentiary hearing be skipped and they proceed directly to a new trial. Ellington rejected that offer as he planned to use the evidentiary hearing as a discovery tool.

    Then, he made the above-quoted statement about coming up with a way for the three to plead guilty. Braga came up with the Alford Plea after that. Back when the three were initially released, many people were implying that the defense presented the Alford Plea as their initial offering. It was only later that we learned of the initial offer, Ellington's counter and finally the Alford Plea.


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  26. #14
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    For perhaps the first time in U.S. judicial history a death row inmate was allowed to plead guilty to three counts of first-degree murder and immediately leave the courtroom a free man...

    New trials for all three men would likely have been ordered, and it would have been very difficult to secure convictions, Ellington said. Recent DNA evidence, deteriorated evidence and a chorus of changing stories by some who testified in the original trials are the primary reasons he allowed the men an avenue out.

    The mother of a softball player who testified at trial that she overheard Echols tell friends he killed the boys, now says her daughter lied, Ellington said.

    Another witness, Victoria Hutchinson, has also said she lied on the stand, according to a sworn statement.

    Since 2007 more than a dozen hairs and other biological material collected from the crime scene have undergone DNA testing. Several DNA donors have been identified, but none of the tested material belongs to Echols, Baldwin or Misskelley, court documents state.

    Without DNA, Ellington said it might be hard for a jury to convict any the men.

    Money factored in, too.

    Additional trials would have cost untold sums, and if the men were acquitted, they could have sued the state for wrongful convictions.

    The agreed deal prevents a lawsuit against the state.

    ....
    http://www.paragoulddailypress.com/a...f111086957.txt

    They would never have been able to convict these guys again, it's a travesty they convicted them in the first place, particularly any hoogy boogy about Satanic rituals or related.


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  28. #15
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    http://www.businessinsider.com/west-...d-plea-2012-12

    After the Arkansas Supreme Court unanimously decided to grant the West Memphis 3 a new trial, the trio invoked an Alford Plea because it could help them avoid a risky new trial.

    "So, there was a risk when it went back to trial that the [jury] would still vote for guilt," West Memphis 3 attorney Patrick Benca told Business Insider in an email. "There was the belief that maybe one or two of the jurors would stick to their guilty beliefs and hang the jury, which would have resulted in further delay to getting Damien, and the others out of prison. You can still research comments on the Internet and find these rogue opinions. Our deal got Damien and the others out now without having to address that risk."




    I didn't know this and honestly,I don't like it.....so they had the chance to prove their innocence (a new trial ) and their chance of a NG verdict was huge (very weak PHYSICAL evidence against them)...but they didn't took it,they preferred to plead guilty and get out of jail as soon as possible....how convenient....hmmm.....


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