by Max Brantley
Burnett has not fared well in documentaries of the case and more are on the way. So you wouldn't expect him to say at this point that he's reconsidered and regrets some of his evidentiary rulings or to express relief that a man wasn't executed in such a flawed case. No, you wouldn't expect that.
KAIT says he'll talk at 10 on the case, the defendants and the recent developments.
There's this great irony, though. You could argue that the WM3 owe their freedom to David Burnett. He allowed documentary filmmakers in court for the first trials. The absurdity of those proceedings — and the crusade on which filmmakers then embarked — were critical elements in the long battle that led to their release from prison 18 years after the slayings of three West Memphis children.
To date, he's commented only briefly and then to say the WM3 remain murderers because the plea deal that released them required them to admit guilt and accept conviction, even as they professed innocence.
Pre-spin from Lonnie Soury, a spokesman for Damien Echols and for Arkansas Take Action, the group that has worked in the interest of WM3 freedom and exoneration:
"Judge David Burnett is the single person most responsible for the wrongful conviction of Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley. and the fact that the person who committed these crimes in still free in our community. New evidence of their innocence continues to emerge that will lead to their exoneration despite Burnett's actions over these 18 years.
He was in the unique position to put an end to this tragic injustice but he chose to overlook the prosecutorial and police misconduct in obtaining Jessie's false confession, the juror misconduct that let the confession into the jury room and the testimony of the faux satanic expert Dale Griffiths. The people of Jonesboro and Craighead County were ill served when Burnett was a judge and today as a State Senator."