Why is the website called "Callahan"?
When the website was created in late 2001 it was not initially devoted to the 'West Memphis 3' case and neither was it intended to be. The name "Callahan" was meant as a homage to the Clint Eastwood character "Dirty Harry." So why not just change the website's name now that it has become a WM3 document archive? Well, there's more than 15.000 files (images, indices of images, transcripts, audio, etc.) on the website and it would take an eternity to upload them to a new website, so the "Callahan" name is here to stay.
Who is behind the website?
We're Greg and Monte. Although Greg is a supporter of the WM3, and Monte isn't, the website doesn't contain our opinions about the case.
What is your connection to the case?
None. We're lay persons who have no connection to the case whatsoever.
Who are all the names on the "Credits" list?
Most of the names are obviously not someone's real name. It's monikers used by members of the various message boards who have helped by either obtaining: documents from the West Memphis Police Department's evidence file; trial transcripts; photos; newspaper articles; or helped transcribe said documents and trial transcripts from audio.
Are the trial transcripts official?
All of the Images and PDF files are official. The vast majority of the two trials have been transcribed from MP3 audio files. The official transcript differs slightly from the audio recordings, as all words and sentences were not taken down by the court reporter. In many entries where both a transcription and images are available you will find that they might differ, since the transcription have been made from audio, not the images. Although there are no images available for Echols' Rule 37 hearing, those transcriptions are from the official transcript.
Is the Trial Transcripts page complete?
As far as the two trials we are pretty close to complete. Entries that we do not have, most specifically the Voir dire (jury selection) process, are marked as "Not available." With the exception of the Voir dire, we have all pretrial proceedings.
What is an "Abstract" on the Trial Transcripts page?
An abstract is a legal document drafted by the defense attorneys, reviewed for accuracy by the prosecution and submitted to the Appellate Court. The purpose of an abstract is to give the appellate judges a condensed reference tool so they can review the testimonies and arguments of a case without having to read a trial's complete transcript. Straightforward, non-controversial testimony is usually pared down to a few lines, but crucial testimony or testimony that is related to important issues under appeal is usually presented in great detail, often word for word. The format of an abstract renders a witness's testimony into the first person.
Arkansas Supreme Court Rule 4-2(a)(5) governs the preparation of abstracts: http://courts.state.ar.us/rules/supremeart4.html#4-2(via archive.org)
What does "Pleadings" mean?
Pleadings refer to any documents filed with a court in connection with a case. That would include motions, orders, discovery, complaints, answers, subpoenas etc.
Is the Pleadings page complete?
No. The Pleadings listed are the ones that have been obtained. There have been far more filed both pretrial and post-trial. We do have all of Misskelley's pretrial pleadings.
What is a "Rule 37 Hearing"?
From Arkansas Attorney General website - Appellate Procedure Following a Conviction at Trial:
After a defendant’s conviction has been affirmed, he or she may choose to file a petition for post-conviction relief in the trial court. These are commonly called "Rule 37" petitions, because they are authorized by Rule 37 of the Arkansas Rules of Criminal Procedure. In a Rule 37 petition, the defendant raises claims that, if valid, could entitle him or her to a new trial for reasons other than the claims of trial error raised on appeal. Most often, a Rule 37 petition asserts that the defendant’s trial attorney made errors that deprived the defendant of effective legal counsel at trial.
The trial court will often hold a hearing before deciding a Rule 37 petition, and the prosecuting attorney’s office represents the State at the hearing. If the trial court denies a Rule 37 petition, the defendant may appeal that decision to the Arkansas Supreme Court or to the Arkansas Court of Appeals. The Attorney General’s Office will again represent the State while the case is on appeal.
What is a "Denno Hearing"?
The word "Denno" comes from the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Jackson v. Denno, 378 U.S. 368 (1964). In Denno, the New York procedure was to leave the determination of voluntariness of confessions to the juries. The U.S. Supreme Court found that procedure violated due process and held that a defendant was entitled to a hearing to determine voluntariness. Furthermore, Denno hearings are for anything on which the court is required to make a determination outside the province of the jury, such as admissibility of testimony, qualification of experts, etc.
What does "in camera" mean?
IN CAMERA - Lat. 'in chambers.' Refers to a hearing or inspection of documents that takes places in private, often in a judge's chambers. Depending on the circumstances, these can be either on or off the record, though they're usually recorded.
In camera hearings often take place concerninging delicate evidenciary matters, to shield a jury from bias caused by certain matters, or to protect the privacy of the people involved and are common in cases of guardianships, adoptions and custody disputes alleging child abuse.
Has there been written any books about the case?
Yes. See the Books page for a list.