WM3 addenda | Arkansas Blog

Sunday, August 24, 2008

WM3 addenda

Posted By on Sun, Aug 24, 2008 at 7:10 AM

An item about the West Memphis Three proceedings the other day was prompted by the note on the jump from Brent Peterson, one of those in the advocacy group working for a new trial for the three men convicted in the slayings years ago. I had meant to include it at the time. The hearing yesterday in Jonesboro was very strange.  The first link posted below is coverage from Memphis channel 5 and the second is LR ABC 7.  The following forwarded Google link will take you to the most extensive coverage of all stations by KAIT in Jonesboro.  Both 6 and 10 o'clock segments are posted.  You just click on either beside the video icon.  They were the only three TV stations covering the hearings.  Also an AP and the West Memphis Evening Times reporters were there.
 
Capi, Lorri and I were baffled by the proceedings as the media and all the lawyers were.  The judge came across as flippant, arrogant and capricious.  In April he had already set a schedule for evidentiary hearings in September/October, and yesterday astonished everyone by repeating the process to determine the order the three defendants cases will be presented.  He said he didn't take notes.
 
Everyone thought he would be up on all the filings and give an idea what he was going to allow to be heard.  When Damien's lawyers referenced the Reply to State filing (I emailed you last week on the 13th) the judge hadn't seen it.  The same for the affidavit filed on May 30 under seal about the jury foreman's misconduct.  The judge kept looking over at the clerk raising his eyebrows to ask if she knew anything about those filings.
 
In April the judge had said the WM3 would have the right to the final filings to the state.  After the prosecution asked that Jessie's lawyers reduce a 256 page petition to 10 pages, the judge denied it then opened it back up for either side to file anything else they wanted in the next ten days.  He said he would have a ruling on what he would hear, if anything, on September 5.  This only gives our lawyers 2 or 3 days before the 09/08 hearings to make all the arrangements with whichever witnesses will be allowed. 
 
A discussion ensued about the state wanting access to all the files on the whole case by the defense for Jessie.  Jessie's lawyer, Michael Burt, pointed out that it consisted of 36 large boxes in storage and how would it be done logistically.  Would the prosecution fly to San Fran and sift through everything to see what they wanted?  Would Michael himself decide what to send, or just send it all?  The judge just dropped it by telling them to work it out.
 
After the judge asked for any final comments getting about three more from the lawyers, I raised my hand and standing up asked if it would be permissible to speak.  He asked who I was, and I said an Arkansas citizen with a group from LR working to raise awareness about the innocence of the 3 known as the WM3 and to raise funding for their legal defense.  I explained that the celebrity "well" had dried up and asked if he might require the state to pay for the expense of Mr. Burt's time, copying and shipping.
 
The judge got a scowl of disdain on his face, and I felt him thinking who does this guy think he is?  Since he only said he would let the two sides decide that and didn't sit me back down I was emboldened and asked if he might remove the gag order from all the legal teams.  He said "No, this was too controversial".  I sat back down only nodding.  Then Will Carter from Jonesboro 8 stood up and asked for clarification on the memo the judge sent out barring cameras in the court house.  Mr. Carter asked if the courthouse were not public property and would this be the case for all trials in the future.  The judge said only this one and the crews could wait outside and get shots when people exited. 
 
On the way home Capi talked to Will Carter on the phone who said they were planning to file an injunction against Judge Burnett and the network and KATV would be in on it over the judge also saying they could not directly quote anything from the courtroom, only paraphrase.  It seemed odd to me that he said he would allow desktops in the courtroom, where everyone could have internet access, and write updates on blogs.  Last night some news accounts came through that the judge was contacted later about his statement, and he said he only meant they could not play any recordings on the internet or TV.
 
After the hearing all the lawyers met at the hotel.  They were talking about my courtroom high-jinx when we arrived.  John Phillipsborn shook my hand and said it was unprecedented in his memory to have audience participation in court.  They all agreed it could help their filing, soon to come, to receive indigent status for Jason and Jessie to have the state pay their legal costs.  It was costly to fly all the attorneys in from San Francisco for very little output.  But nothing in Burnett's court should surprise us any longer.
 
Also, we ate all three of our meals at the Edge, on the edge of the ASU campus, and befriended two employees who put our bumper stickers out on display for people to take.  The owner of the business is on the city council with Kent Arnold, the jury foreman, who will be on trial, if the judge decides to unseal the document disallowing the attorney/client privilege claim.  She came in to work the lunch shift, and when we got there to eat the bumper stickers had been removed.  But I got one of the guy's phone numbers, who is going to help us get the Time for Truth video played at a local venue.
 
Thanks for all your support and prayers, and if you can donate to the cause, you can now do so by credit card on our website: www.freewestmemphis3.org .  You will receive a tax exemption receipt.
 
If these links don't take you straight to the news websites, you can copy them and paste into the browser window.
 
http://www.wmctv.com/global/story.asp?sˆ70670
 
http://www.katv.com/news/stories/0808/545952_video.html?ref=newsstory

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Auditor Lea caught not telling the truth

    State Auditor Andrea Lea, who began her tenure in statewide office with a degree of competence unseen in some other Republican counterparts (think Treasurer Dennis Milligan particularly), is becoming more deeply mired in a political scandal.
    • Mar 4, 2016
  • Trump immigration protest at LR: Quick and fierce

    It was not even 24 hours ago that Sophia Said, director of the Interfaith Center; City Director Kathy Webb and others decided to organize a protest today of Donald Trump's executive order that has left people from Muslim countries languishing in airports or unable to come to the US at all — people with visas, green cards,a  post-doc graduate student en route to Harvard, Google employees abroad, families. I got the message today before noon; others didn't find out until it was going on. But however folks found out, they turned out in huge numbers, more than thousand men, women and children, on the grounds of the state Capitol to listen to speakers from all faiths and many countries.
    • Jan 29, 2017
  • Another Republican miracle-working governor

    Great piece in Washington Post on the budget crisis in Louisiana. Big tax cuts and corporate welfare will do that to a state, particularly to a state whose previous governor, Republican Bobby Jindal, refused to join the Obamacare-funded Medicaid expansion. There's a lesson there for Arkansas.
    • Mar 4, 2016

Most Shared

  • Discussion: State killing of the mentally ill

    The Arkansas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and others will have a forum on mental illness and the death penalty at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Bowen School of Law's Friday Courtroom.

Most Viewed

  • Dear Little Rock,

    This is not a love letter, Little Rock, though we do love you. This is an intervention.
  • The Monday Democrat-Gazette was slimmer this morning

    Did your Monday morning Arkansas Democrat-Gazette include a business section?
  • Criticism arises on Hutchinson appointee to dental board

    Criticism has arisen of Gov. Asa Hutchinson for not taking a Dental Association recommendation for a dental regulatory board appointment and appointing instead someone with a record of dental practice violations in the early 1990s.
  • Sabin raises $100,000 for mayor's race

    Michael Cook, a political consultant, has issued a news release saying state Rep. Warwick Sabin has raised $100,000 for his race for Little Rock mayor against incumbent Mayor Mark Stodola.
  • Hog football: The lawyers take over

    If you believe social media, it's all over but the post-season buyout for Razorback football coach Bret Bielema. That means, in turn, that the issue of what the coach's contract buyout is worth is not just an academic question.

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation