We’ve covered the case of the West Memphis Three here on the blog in a series of posts going back over the years and in the past month, we’ve had several posts urging people to see the documentary based upon this Death Row case out of Arkansas, "West of Memphis."  No need to go back over those details here. 

Today, Terry Lenamon shares with you his thoughts on this documentary, which he has already seen in an advanced screening up at the New York Law School.  The film is scheduled for a national release in late December.  Please go see it.

Now, from Terence Lenamon, his personal thoughts on this film:



In a perfect world each of us has a guardian angel.  

Damien Echol’s angel is Lorri Davis.

Without her, Damien would have been a casualty of a flawed and imperfect justice system. He would clearly have been executed.  An innocent man — a mere eighteen years old at the time of his sentence of death, and destined to be dead at the hands of the Arkansas justice system .

Tragedy passing at the expense of fear- driven justice, the new documentary “West of Memphis” tells that story.  I think that Amy Berg (Director), Peter Jackson, (Producer) and Damien Echols should provide this movie to every Judge, Prosecutor and Defense Attorney as a roadmap on both what should and should not be done in capital cases.  

Peter Jackson and Amy Berg do a wonderful job taking us on this long journey that begins with the horrific murder of three young boys and ends in the release of three innocent men almost two decades later.

It is an emotional roller coaster that highlights bad lawyering, overzealous law enforcement, a fear driven community bent on justice, good lawyering, and a very expensive, resource driven defense team that proves money does make a difference.

Both Dennis Riordan and Stephan Braga do a wonderful job at laying the foundation to obtain the release of these men. Barry Scheck lends a hand in helping create law related to DNA testing in Clintonville.

Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh selflessly provide a piece of their $300 million dollar net worth to sharpen the defense attack on injustice with the likes of Eddie Vedder, Johnny Depp, and company dirtying their hands in the face of controversy, never veering from the pursuit of justice.

In all, this deeply touching, yet frightening examination of a broken system, makes clear one undisputable point: when you mix the taking of a life by a justice system with imperfect human fragilities, you can expect nothing less than tragedy.  

For those who practice in my world let us not forget that Death is Different. Let us not forget.

          — Terry Lenamon | November 24, 2012