Showing posts from August, 2011

"Memphis Three" Plead Guilty (In a Way) and Go Home

After almost twenty years in prison, three young boys known as the "Memphis Three" were released from prison last week. In a scene reminiscent of the Kerry Max Cook plea deal (a case in which the defendant was later established to be innocent as a result of DNA testing), the three plead guilty in return for their freedom. The case dates back to 1993 and the horrific murder of three 8 year old boys. It was May 1993 when the nude bodies of three 8-year-old boys, Christopher Byers, Stevie Branch and Michael Moore, were found in a drainage canal in Robin Hood Hills, a wooded area in the poor Arkansas town of West Memphis. The bodies appeared to have been mutilated, and their hands were tied to their feet. The grotesque nature of the murders, coming in the midst of a nationwide concern about satanic cult activity, especially among teenagers, led investigators from the West Memphis Police Department to focus on Mr. Echols, a troubled yet gifted 18-year-old who wore all bla

Espionage, Incarceration, and Plea Bargaining in Georgia

The New York Times has a very interesting article regarding espionage, incarceration, and incentives to plead guilty in Georgia. TBILISI, Georgia — Last week, several days after the photographer Giorgi Abdaladze confessed to selling classified documents to Russia’s foreign intelligence service, he was released without being sentenced to a prison term or even given a fine. After Georgian officials had publicly excoriated Mr. Abdaladze as being a participant in a brazen espionage campaign, his 15-day prosecution ended as abruptly as it had begun. The brief case against Mr. Abdaladze and three other photographers was a baffling one, even in a season of high Georgian anxiety about covert Russian activities. Because it ended in a plea agreement, like an overwhelming number of criminal prosecutions in Georgia, it will never be resolved in court, and all four of the accused risk spending years in prison if they violate their deal by speaking about it. It has left behind a deep rift betwee