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Thread: So the State initiated that Alford Plea?

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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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    Ellington: Money a factor in 'West Memphis 3' deal

    http://www.fox16.com/news/local/stor...A.cspx?rss=315
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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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    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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    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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    Ooops! Double post ~ my apologies!

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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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    Quote Originally Posted by madeleine View Post
    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.....
    I disagree that their chance at a NG verdict was huge (just look at the people who still believe in their guilt despite the mountains of evidence, physical and circumstantial, to the contrary). It was marginal at best. There was juror misconduct (which was never addressed and completely ignored during the appeal process) in Damien and Jason's trial and all it would take is another stealth juror (non-supporter) to get on the panel and cause a mistrial, just like their attorney stated above. I'm glad they took the Alford Plea and got out, where it is easier for them to work toward exoneration. Despite what people want to believe, they are actively working to find who really committed the murders and achieve exoneration. Meanwhile, the State of Arkansas has swept this under the rug and doesn't care that a murderer is walking free and three precious little boys are stilling waiting for their justice.
    Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans - John Lennon

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hez View Post
    I disagree that their chance at a NG verdict was huge (just look at the people who still believe in their guilt despite the mountains of evidence, physical and circumstantial, to the contrary). It was marginal at best. There was juror misconduct (which was never addressed and completely ignored during the appeal process) in Damien and Jason's trial and all it would take is another stealth juror (non-supporter) to get on the panel and cause a mistrial, just like their attorney stated above. I'm glad they took the Alford Plea and got out, where it is easier for them to work toward exoneration. Despite what people want to believe, they are actively working to find who really committed the murders and achieve exoneration. Meanwhile, the State of Arkansas has swept this under the rug and doesn't care that a murderer is walking free and three precious little boys are stilling waiting for their justice.
    @bold I hope they do,I really do,cause this is one thing that really bothers me (I mentioned it before on another thread).Most of their supporters claim that TH did it.Nothing wrong with that,he is one of my top suspects as well.BUT why did all these people stop being vocal after the WM3 were released?Makes you think they did it all (pointing fingers at TH,an ALTERNATIVE suspect) only FOR the wm3 and NOT against the real killer and for justice.It's one thing to use TH as a defence for the WM3,another thing to really want the truth out and the killer behind bars.
    I hope it's not over but unfortunately the plea kinda ended everything...dunno why I have this feeling that the wm3 just wanna put everything behind and move on,it would be a huge disappointment.

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    FACT - THE WM3 WERE NOT "FORCED" TO ACCEPT THE ALFORD PLEA:
    After years of steadfastly upholding the verdicts of two Arkansas juries, The Arkansas Supreme Court finally relented to pressure from WM3 celebrity supporters and the WM3's all-star defense team. In December 2010 the Arkansas Supreme Court granted an evidentiary hearing scheduled for December 2011. The purpose of the hearing was to allow Judge David Laser to hear any "new evidence" the defense had gathered over the years that might justify a new trial. Judge Laser was a new judge who replaced the original trial judge - Judge David Burnett.

    But instead of presenting that evidence to Judge Laser at the December hearing, the defense went to a new prosecutor (Scott Ellington) in the summer of 2011 and suggested a deal. Their clients would plead guilty using a legal maneuver called an "Alford Plea" in exchange for time served. The new prosecutor inexplicably accepted the deal. No one "forced" the WM3 to plead guilty. It was their own idea.

    Instead of presenting their "new evidence" and gaining complete exoneration, the slick WM3 defense team convinced a newbie prosecutor he could get rid of a difficult case if the WM3 could plead guilty and be released from prison. Now, that same defense team and a slew of celebrity WM3 supporters are hounding Arkansas officials for full exoneration. Without full exoneration, the WM3 will forever remain convicted child killers and convicted felons.

    Innocent people with solid evidence of innocence do not plead guilty. Period.

    Misskelley Alford Plea:
    http://wm3org.typepad.com/files/misskelley-alford.pdf
    Echols/Baldwin Alford Plea:
    www.wm3org.typepad.com/files/alford-plea-dj.pdf

    FACT - EVEN IF "THE HAIR" DOES MATCH TERRY HOBBS, THAT DOESN'T MAKE HIM GUILTY OR THE WM3 INNOCENT:
    After years of efforts to frame step-father Mark Byers with the murders failed, the WM3 defense team and makers of the documentaries Paradise Lost 3 and West of Memphis have turned to a new red herring suspect... step-father Terry Hobbs. Many recent media reports claim that "Hobbs' DNA was found on a victim." That sounds pretty compelling, but it's not exactly true.

    When most people hear the word "DNA" they assume that means something like blood or semen. This "DNA" is actually a hair fragment found on a shoestring used to hog tie Michael Moore. The defense often says the hair was "tied into" the shoestring. But there are currently no publicly available photographs or documents to prove that claim.

    Experts paid by the WM3 defense team claim that they determined through lab tests that Terry Hobbs is a "possible source" of that hair. Problem is, 1.5% of the rest of the population is also a "possible source" of that hair. That means that more than 4.5 MILLION Americans are also "possible sources" of that hair. In addition, Michael Moore frequently visited the Hobbs home. The hair could have easily landed on Moore's shoestring through secondary transfer as he played there. The hair is meaningless and will never lead to the conviction of Terry Hobbs.

    Paid defense experts also report that a second hair found on a tree stump near the crime scene weeks after the murders could have come from Hobbs' friend, David Jacoby. But it also could have come from 7% of the rest of the population. A whopping 21 MILLION Americans are also possible owners of the hair found on the tree stump. The “Jacoby hair” is completely meaningless as evidence in court.

    The WM3's own hired expert called the hairs "weak evidence" during a 2007 press conference. How the hairs have suddenly become "strong evidence" in West of Memphis is beyond explanation:

    "The two hairs that I know about – the one that could have in fact come from Mr. Hobbs and the one that could have in fact come from David Jacoby – constitute what I call weak evidence. Because there are other people it could have come from and there isn’t any way to really prove our selection of possible sources for that hair. I don’t think – my personal opinion – I don’t think that that hair evidence would be enough to convict Mr. Hobbs or Mr. Jacoby or anyone that would be in a similar situation because it’s simply not strong enough. The percentages I gave of people who could be the source of those hairs are 1.5% of the population in the respect to one hair and 7% in respect to the other hair. That’s not particularly strong evidence and especially in the context of what most people are accustomed to with DNA testing." - Thomas Fedor, Forensic Serologist
    http://callahan.8k.com/wm3/press_conference.html
    http://wm3truth.com/new-alternative-...t-terry-hobbs/

    [url]http://www.westmemphisthreefacts.com/

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    Quote Originally Posted by madeleine View Post
    @bold I hope they do,I really do,cause this is one thing that really bothers me (I mentioned it before on another thread).Most of their supporters claim that TH did it.Nothing wrong with that,he is one of my top suspects as well.BUT why did all these people stop being vocal after the WM3 were released?Makes you think they did it all (pointing fingers at TH,an ALTERNATIVE suspect) only FOR the wm3 and NOT against the real killer and for justice.It's one thing to use TH as a defence for the WM3,another thing to really want the truth out and the killer behind bars.
    I hope it's not over but unfortunately the plea kinda ended everything...dunno why I have this feeling that the wm3 just wanna put everything behind and move on,it would be a huge disappointment.
    BBM - The supporters (including 2 of the victim's parents) and the WM3 haven't stopped being vocal at all about this and aren't ready to just move on (I follow several other blogs about this and know for a fact). You have the right to your opinion though.
    Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans - John Lennon

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hez View Post
    BBM - The supporters (including 2 of the victim's parents) and the WM3 haven't stopped being vocal at all about this and aren't ready to just move on (I follow several other blogs about this and know for a fact). You have the right to your opinion though.
    Can I have the links to those blogs please?Maybe I was wrong for talking in general,I was left with this feeling after visiting a few forums ( anti TH forums/TH is the killer forums)which ended their activity after the wm3 were released...so to me that means they weren't really after TH the killer but were using him as the ""free the WM3"" propaganda....

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    Quote Originally Posted by madeleine View Post
    Can I have the links to those blogs please?Maybe I was wrong for talking in general,I was left with this feeling after visiting a few forums ( anti TH forums/TH is the killer forums)which ended their activity after the wm3 were released...so to me that means they weren't really after TH the killer but were using him as the ""free the WM3"" propaganda....
    Here you go.

    http://www.wm3blackboard.com/bb2-0/index.php

    http://www.wm3.org/

    http://freewestmemphis3.org/
    Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans - John Lennon

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    were they offered the deal separately or as a group(sorry for the stupid way i am asking this,dunno how to put it)?
    i mean,could one of them have said yes and two others no for ex?
    Cause it's been said that Baldwin wanted to refuse and wait for new evidence (which IF true is very telling) but accepted for DE's sake.

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    Quote Originally Posted by madeleine View Post
    were they offered the deal separately or as a group(sorry for the stupid way i am asking this,dunno how to put it)?
    i mean,could one of them have said yes and two others no for ex?
    Cause it's been said that Baldwin wanted to refuse and wait for new evidence (which IF true is very telling) but accepted for DE's sake.
    I'm not exactly sure, but I believe it was a one deal for all or no deal at all type of thing. Yes, initially Jason refused because he wanted a new trial. However, he was advised by his lawyers that they would have to wait several more years for a new trial, and due to Damien's rapidly deteriorating health, he took the plea. I'm sure it was a difficult decision to make, but I don't think he regrets it now.
    Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans - John Lennon

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    After years of steadfastly upholding the verdicts of two Arkansas juries, The Arkansas Supreme Court finally relented to pressure from WM3 celebrity supporters and the WM3's all-star defense team.
    This is obviously quoted from a non site, and when something has an opening sentence as inaccurate as that, I don't bother reading any further. The Supreme Court ordered an evidentiary hearing because the Arkansas DNA statute under which the testing was carried out clearly entitled them to one. Celebrity supporters and all star defense teams had zilch to do with it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hez View Post
    BBM - The supporters (including 2 of the victim's parents) and the WM3 haven't stopped being vocal at all about this and aren't ready to just move on (I follow several other blogs about this and know for a fact). You have the right to your opinion though.
    @bold and I am glad you brought this up...you are referring to Pam H. and Byers,right?Dunno why their statements (last I saw them on the A.Jones show talking about the case) don't sound okay to me.I never found these 2 trustworthy....and this is not a game (3 kids were killed,THEIR kids)...for so many years they made such a circus on TV against the wm3,now they changed their minds....do they want the reward money or something?do they like the media attention?Sorry but I don't trust them and I don't know what their REAL intentions are.

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