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Patti Wigington

WM3: Judge Rejects New Evidence

By September 15, 2008

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In a major setback for Damien Echols and the other two men who make up the West Memphis Three, Judge David Burnett has rejected the request for a new trial based on DNA evidence uncovered since the original convictions in 1993. Burnett rejected defense claims that the new DNA evidence exonerates the three men. He also stated that "even if he agreed that the new DNA evidence should be heard in court, he would deny Echols' request for a trial because there was "not compelling evidence that he would be acquitted."

Personally, I'm trying to figure out why the defense attorneys haven't asked Burnett to recuse himself, since he presided over the original trial in which Echols was found guilty. Echols' lawyers plan on filing an appeal immediately. In the meantime, Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Miskelley continue to sit in prison, as they've done for the past fifteen years.
September 15, 2008 at 10:26 pm
(1) Brent says:

At the status hearing in Jonesboro on August 20 each of the three legal teams from San Fran were there, plus the Little Rock council for all three. Jessie’s LR lawyer, Jeff Rozensweig, did ask the Judge to recuse himself on the grounds that he would be running for state senate at the end of the year, though we can all think of plenty of other reasons for the request. Burnett rejected it merely saying that was a long way down the road. Truthfully, for all the guys, the sooner they get the hell out of East Arkansas and into a more unbiased federal courtroom in LR the better.

September 16, 2008 at 10:20 pm
(2) PhoenixWindwalker says:

This is yet another example of why I don’t call it the Justice System and instead refer to it as the Law System.

In a system based on JUSTICE, these people would be able to prove their innocence or be proven of their guilt based on FACTS, not on the say of an already biased judge concerned with his own agenda.

There is no justice in a system that denies a person or group of people a proper trial, nor is there any justice in a system that allows a biased judge to reside over a case.

September 22, 2008 at 10:27 am
(3) Robin Poore says:

I have followed this case for years and I am amazed at all the denials Judge Burnett has handed down. I think today, with all the new evidence being examined, Jesse, Damien, and Jason would be exonerated. With the new statute that Arkansas has enacted involving post conviction DNA analysis, it would be almost impossible to prove their innocence! That is what the Judge is using to hand down these denials of a new trial. All the evidence in the original trial has been challenged and proven to be lies, and shows improper police coercion. Dale Griffis, the mail order occult expert, has proven that he has no credentials to even testify at the original trial. I think someone doesn’t want the ugly mess surrounding this case to come to light. Could this be Judge Burnett? I think it involves him and the prosecution. They say they stand up for justice–if so these men would be free or at the very least, granted new trials! Its time for some REAL answers to this crime..15 years has been too long!

September 26, 2008 at 9:38 am
(4) mermade says:

I can’e believe in judge has denied a new trial, all the original evidence was tainted and in the name of justice he should allow new evidence to be evaluated by an expert in dna not the judge. And especially not a judge who appears to be using this case for political reasons.

September 26, 2008 at 9:55 am
(5) luna says:

Hi I’m from Australia and I agree with every ones comments. I have followed this case via this web site and I feel sick about what has happened. I reckon we all have to sent healing energy to every one concerned. I’m scared for them. I think we have to call on Spirit and the God and Goddess and put our hearts and souls into it. Blessed be to all

September 26, 2008 at 10:09 am
(6) luna says:

Patti, I was just thinking would it be possible for you to request via your newsletter for people to send healing to all parties and ask for Divine justice to prevail. At least then we would know we had contributed in a very positive way. Brightest Blessings to all

September 26, 2008 at 10:27 am
(7) Femmy says:

I think his political agenda is severely damaged BY his denial of a new trial. At least I would hope so…

October 16, 2008 at 1:58 am
(8) Dave C says:

Tell This “Judge” What you think!
Honorable David Burnett
Circuit: Second Judicial Circuit
Division: Division 3
Counties: Clay, Craighead, Crittenden, Greene, Mississippi, Poinsett”
Address: P.O Box 704
Osceola, AR 72370
Phone: 870-933-4579

July 3, 2009 at 1:14 pm
(9) VMan says:

I knew this judge and his wife when I was a kid. They are extremely smart people, but I have not met many others more smug or arrogant than they are. If evidence exists that warrants a retrial then David needs to step down. But he won’t. Thats his character.

December 27, 2010 at 11:29 am
(10) Cathy says:

And we all know why he rejected it every time,Thank God for the new Judge or Burnett would have still denied a new trial,he doesn’t want to admit he made a mistake or that he knew in 93 he was making a mistake!
They wanted the WM3 b/c it was easy and believable!
They were dirt poor and couldn’t fight the system!

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