Meghan Lalonde (second from left) and Damien Echols of the West Memphis Three (second from right). That's her professor on the far left and a classmate on the far right. (Photo courtesy of Meghan Lalonde.)
This is a really interesting story of how Meghan Lalonde (Class of 2010) wrote a blog post, one thing lead to another, and before she knew it she and a group of her New York Law School classmates were at the apartment of Damien Echols, the most famous of the West Memphis Three, having tea and cookies.
As you may know, the West Memphis Three were wrongfully convicted of murdering three 8-year-old boys in West Memphis, Arkansas in 1993. They served 18 years before their conviction was overturned and they were freed in August. Their case was the subject of a series of Paradise Lost documentaries and a Peter Jackson entry at the Sundance Film Festival.
Meghan, who is in the Law and Journalism program, wrote about the case in a carefully researched blog post The West Memphis Three: An A-Z List of Justice Gone Wrong for her class blog Legal As She Is Spoke.
Echols, who spent years on death row, liked the post and agreed to meet Meghan and her class. You can tell from her email that it blew her mind!
“It was absolutely surreal. Damien personally thanked me for writing about the case and did the same with another girl who also wrote about it, and gave each of us a hug and a kiss. My professor was losing her mind…Damien was so nice that he brought my professor and I and a few other students over to his apartment afterwards for tea and cookies.”
Meghan’s piece is a painstaking look at the various details of what she says is a gross miscarriage of justice, including the interesting Alford Plea, which, as Meghan’s post notes, “allows a criminal defendant to plead guilty without admitting guilt and maintaining innocence while still acknowledging that prosecutors have enough ‘evidence’ for a conviction.”
Great story, Meghan!