Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The West Memphis Three weren't released just because they "pled guilty"

Steve Branch, father of one of the victimes of the viscious attack which inexorably changed the lives of several people, vowed to fight the release of the West Memphis Three.

I have no children. I have no idea what it's like to lose a child. I can't even imagine the loss. The gut wrenching feeling, especially due to the viscous nature of the crimes.

However, what people need to realize is that Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jesse Misskelley weren't released because they pled guilty.

New evidence came to light last December.

The WM3 were given a choice.

Wait a few years until their new trial, which they were almost guaranteed to have, and almost guaranteed to be acquitted, or have a very quick new trial, plead guilty and go home.

If the justice system completely fucked you over when you were 17 years old, what would you do?

This does not open a Pandora's box as Mr. Branch fears. They didn't suddenly say they were "guilty" and released. If you could do that, there wouldn't be anyone in prison.

They were already found guilty. The State and the DA's office had already won. Unless they were completely convinced that they would lose a new trial, there's no reason to let the boys go.

Someone needs to explain what the Alford Plea was, and that this wasn't a legal stunt. An enraged father, filled with vengeance is one thing - add ignorrance and you're asking for serious trouble.

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