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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Time To Push Arkansas Gov Mike Beebe To Pardon The Memphis 3

They are out of jail, but still legally guilty of heinous crimes they didn’t commit. There will be no new trial because of the plea agreements. This is an outrageous dereliction of duty by the Arkansas prosecutors office. The only way to fully and finally free the Memphis 3 is for the Governor of the state, Mike Beebe, to pardon them.

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clemency process in Arkansas

7 Responses to “Time To Push Arkansas Gov Mike Beebe To Pardon The Memphis 3”

  1. Eric says:

    Don’t you have to be guilty of a crime to receive a pardon?

    I’m not a lawyer, but my understanding is that a governor can’t declare them not guilty. A pardon is only a declaration that no further punishment will be given. To be declared not guilty, they’d have to submit to a retrial, which apparently both sides have declined.

  2. LexG says:

    Is it 100% conclusive they’re 100% innocent? I saw the first doc, and it certainly made a persuasive case; Sounded like the 2nd movie went further in making the case against that one older guy… I understand there’s a third doc now… But is there like 1000% uncontestable proof the 3 didn’t actually do it?

    Just asking, I haven’t followed the story at all beyond seeing the first movie. Did someone unearth videotaped evidence of someone else committing the crime? How else can you ever be 100%?

  3. chris says:

    I think the point is that they were never proved guilty. You know, innocent until proven guilty? (And the second film would probably done a lot more to convince you, although I guess one of the victim’s parents saying he knows they didn’t do it isn’t enough?)

  4. anghus says:

    itll be interesting to see if a twitter campaign could end up righting some serious wrongs.

    SAVE THE WORLD IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS!

    @presidnetobama – these wars are really bumming me out.

  5. David Poland says:

    To clarify, Eric… they pleaded out for time served to get out now and to get one of the group off of death row, where he has continued to live in jeopardy of death, even though the conviction was thoroughly discredited years ago.

    The 3 would like a retrial. But now, they cannot have one, because as you wrote, they have now pleaded guilty.

    And you’re right. A pardon is not really a vacating of the conviction. But it’s as close as they will ever get now.

    The alternative was, at best, to sit in jail until early next year, get a judge to finally release them while they awaited a new trial, and then invest more time in a second trial, which the state couldn’t possibly win, but would likely stubbornly prosecute.

    And Lex, you’re right… almost impossible to prove a negative… that they didn’t do it. But there is now no legitimate proof that they did do it. And they have spent many years of their lives in jail based on evidence that would not see them convicted today. Moreover, though there are clear suspects, can’t prove them guilty st this point, as they were not properly investigated back in the day.

    And Anghus… a bit cynical… but writing your congressman/governor/senator/president is hardly a new idea… and it is heard. It’s not saving the world, but it is letting your government know that you are conscious of what’s going on and that it can’t just be swept under the rug.

  6. anghus says:

    a little bit cynical. If it helps gets innocent people pardoned, i dont care if its twitter, facebook, or sending candy to their offices. i just hate the idea of twitter becoming a primary form of communication for ideas.

    there are ideas that are larger than 140 characters.

    twitter is a statement machine for people who dont want to engage in conversation.

  7. Eric says:

    The Alford plea allows them to maintain their own claims of innocence– so they’re not even pleading guilty. And I think I would have taken the same deal if I was sitting in a jail cell too.

    I’m saying I don’t think there’s anything the governor can do. A pardon doesn’t give them anything they don’t have already. The pardon says “the state forgives you for these crimes,” which is useful to e.g. get you out of prison. If you’re already out of prison, and you’ve asserted your innocence all along, what good is a pardon? (Accepting a pardon would arguably put them in a worse position than they’re in now, because it’s an implicit admission of guilt.)

    As I said, I’m just a layman who’s trying to understand the legal proceedings. I think your heart’s certainly in the right place here. But I believe for a conviction to be overturned outright, it’d have to be done by a judge, not the governor.

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MAMET
Well, that, to me, is always the trick of dramaturgy; theoretically, perfectly, what one wants to do is put the protagonist and the audience in exactly the same position. The main question in drama, the way I was taught, is always what does the protagonist want. That’s what drama is. It comes down to that. It’s not about theme, it’s not about ideas, it’s not about setting, but what the protagonist wants. What gives rise to the drama, what is the precipitating event, and how, at the end of the play, do we see that event culminated? Do we see the protagonist’s wishes fulfilled or absolutely frustrated? That’s the structure of drama. You break it down into three acts.

INTERVIEWER
Does this explain why your plays have so little exposition?

MAMET
Yes. People only speak to get something. If I say, Let me tell you a few things about myself, already your defenses go up; you go, Look, I wonder what he wants from me, because no one ever speaks except to obtain an objective. That’s the only reason anyone ever opens their mouth, onstage or offstage. They may use a language that seems revealing, but if so, it’s just coincidence, because what they’re trying to do is accomplish an objective… The question is where does the dramatist have to lead you? Answer: the place where he or she thinks the audience needs to be led. But what does the character think? Does the character need to convey that information? If the answer is no, then you’d better cut it out, because you aren’t putting the audience in the same position with the protagonist. You’re saying, in effect, Let’s stop the play. That’s what the narration is doing—stopping the play… It’s action, as Aristotle said. That’s all that it is—exactly what the person does. It’s not what they “think,” because we don’t know what they think. It’s not what they say. It’s what they do, what they’re physically trying to accomplish on the stage. Which is exactly the same way we understand a person’s character in life—not by what they say, but by what they do. Say someone came up to you and said, I’m glad to be your neighbor because I’m a very honest man. That’s my character. I’m honest, I like to do things, I’m forthright, I like to be clear about everything, I like to be concise. Well, you really don’t know anything about that guy’s character. Or the person is onstage, and the playwright has him or her make those same claims in several subtle or not-so-subtle ways, the audience will say, Oh yes, I understand their character now; now I understand that they are a character. But in fact you don’t understand anything. You just understand that they’re jabbering to try to convince you of something.
~ David Mamet

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Do you outline plays before you start to write them?

PINTER
Not at all. I don’t know what kind of characters my plays will have until they…well, until they are. Until they indicate to me what they are. I don’t conceptualize in any way. Once I’ve got the clues I follow them—that’s my job, really, to follow the clues.

INTERVIEWER
What do you mean by clues? Can you remember how one of your plays developed in your mind—or was it a line-by-line progression?

PINTER
Of course I can’t remember exactly how a given play developed in my mind. I think what happens is that I write in a very high state of excitement and frustration. I follow what I see on the paper in front of me—one sentence after another. That doesn’t mean I don’t have a dim, possible overall idea—the image that starts off doesn’t just engender what happens immediately, it engenders the possibility of an overall happening, which carries me through. I’ve got an idea of what might happen—sometimes I’m absolutely right, but on many occasions I’ve been proved wrong by what does actually happen. Sometimes I’m going along and I find myself writing “C. comes in” when I didn’t know that he was going to come in; he had to come in at that point, that’s all.
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