Yesterday, the state of Arkansas accepted an "Alford Plea" and freed the West Memphis Three after 18 years of what is widely held to be false imprisonment. And while it's great news for the three men - one of whom was facing death row and in frail health - it's most-definitely NOT any kind of justice. The conditions of the plea shield the state from being held to account for their grotesque handling tof the ordeal, allowing the prosecution to escape reprecussions for one of the most public acts of legal malfeasance in modern American history.
Director/producer Peter Jackson, who was revealed yesterday to be a big wheel in the money/coordination efforts to get the case re-examined, has posted a detailed summation of his thoughts on the affair, which amount to a BRUTAL yet wholly-appropriate dressing-down of the entire Arkansas legal system. You should read the whole thing, it's DAMN good stuff, but here's my favorite passage:
"It goes on and on ... any serious detailed look into the facts and science of this case quickly reveals what an appalling miscarriage of justice it is. Any vaguely intelligent person would come to the same conclusion, if they take the time - except for Mr Ellington and his justice league. But then, to be fair, Mr Ellington has a job to do, and a good reason to protect his State from admitting any fault. 42 million good reasons in fact. The most telling thing Mr Arkansas Justice Mouth-piece said this morning was that a guy who proved he was wrongfully convicted in another State, was awarded compensation of $14 million.
Follow the money."
Folks, when people say that "liberal Hollywood" and "Middle America" are "at war"... HELL YES they are, and THIS kind of shit is both the WHY and the HOW - as in HOW you know who the good guys tend to be. These three innocent men rotted in jail unjustly for almost two decades almost-entirely due to their being "different" in a conservative, religious, rural community. They are free today because filmmakers, documentarians, musicians and other assorted activists both well-known and unknown saw a wrong - and, in many cases, felt kinship with the put-upon "different" in our society - and shoved the case into the spotlight until this small sliver of right was done.
From here on out, any putrid pundit who starts blowing his/her trumpet about how wrong it is for "Hollywood" to be trying to change values and influence people in "REAL America" deserves to have this case shoved right back in their faces. Hard.