Johnny Depp is getting lots of media play due to his upcoming debut as the beloved Mad Hatter in Tim Burton’s version of "Alice in Wonderland" next month.
However, Johnny Depp won’t be talking movies this Saturday when he appears on CBS-TV’s "48 Hours. " Instead, he’ll be adding the power of his fame to the fight to stop the execution of Damien Echols and to free the West Memphis 3.
Good for Johnny Depp.
There are those, like Depp, who believe the three boys (now men – it’s been 17 years) are innocent of the crimes. There are others that argue it’s not a matter of guilt, it’s a matter of the system failing to follow proper protocols, and the need to correct improprieties that cannot be ignored.
The "West Memphis 3" are Damion Echols, Jessie Misskelley, Jr., and Jason Baldwin, who were convicted of murdering three 8-year-old boys in West Memphis, Arkansas, back in 1993. Only Echols was sentenced to death; Baldwin got life imprisonment and Misskelley was sentenced to life in prison plus 40 years.
Other celebrities lending their support to the West Memphis 3 campaign include Wynona Ryder and Demi Lovato.
Can celebrities really impact executions in this country? Of course they can.
We can all look to the case of Georgia’s Troy Davis as an example. Famous names lending their clout to the Free Troy Davis campaign include The Pope, Desmond Tutu of South Africa, and former President Jimmy Carter.
Right now, a federal hearing is pending in the Troy Davis case, and there’s a big fight between the attorneys on why all the witnesses have recanted. The state is implying witness tampering, and the defense lawyers have taken to the media, incensed at the implication. Meanwhile, Davis’s execution by the State of Georgia remains stayed by federal order.