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Mara Leveritt - book author

Mara Leveritt is an Arkansas reporter best known as the author of Devil’s Knot (Atria 2002) and Dark Spell, (Bird Call Press 2013), the first books of her intended Justice Knot Trilogy about three Cub Scouts who were murdered in West Memphis, Arkansas and the case of the three teenagers who were convicted of the murders and then, 18 years later--and after pleading guilty--were abruptly set free. A 2013 feature film staring Colin Firth, Reese Witherspoon and Stephen Moyer is based on Devil's Knot. Leveritt’s earlier book, The Boys on the Tracks, (St. Martin’s Press 1998, republished by Bird Call Press, 2011) focused on the political intrigue surrounding the still-unsolved murders of two Arkansas teenagers.
Leveritt is a contributing editor at Arkansas Times, where she has written extensively about the prosecution of Tim Howard, an African-American man, for the murder of his best friends, who were white. After Howard spent almost 15 years on death row, a court found that state officials had not released potentially exculpatory evidence to his defense lawyers at trial--a violation of law. A new trial has been scheduled for September 2014.
Leveritt also blogs on her website about law, police, courts, and prisons. She has won several awards for her writing and posts the photo here of herself in cap and gown because she is so unabashedly proud of her honorary doctorate of humane letters from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
As Leveritt is new to Goodreads, she has started by adding books that influenced her to her bones.

Mara Leveritt is the author of books: Devil's Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three (Justice Knot, #1), The Boys on the Tracks: Death, Denial, and a Mother's Crusade to Bring Her Son's Killers to Justice, Dark Spell: Surviving the Sentence, The Mena File: Barry Seal's Ties to Drug Lords and U.S. Officials, Les 3 Crimes de West Memphis

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In 2011, one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in American legal history was set right when Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley were released after eighteen years in prison. Award-winning journalist Mara Leveritt's The Devil's Knot remains the most comprehensive, insightful reporting ever done on the investigation, trials, and convictions of three teenage boys who became known as the West Memphis Three.

For weeks in 1993, after the murders of three eight-year-old boys, police in West Memphis, Arkansas seemed stymied. Then suddenly, detectives charged three teenagers, alleged members of a satanic cult, with the killings. Despite the witch-hunt atmosphere of the trials, and a case which included stunning investigative blunders, a confession riddled with errors, and an absence of physical evidence linking any of the accused to the crime, the teenagers were convicted. Jurors sentenced Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley to life in prison and Damien Echols, the accused ringleader, to death. The guilty verdicts were popular in their home state, even upheld on appeal, and all three remained in prison until their unprecedented release in August 2011.

With close-up views of its key participants, this award-winning account unravels the many tangled knots of this endlessly shocking case, one which will shape the American legal landscape for years to come.
The Boys on the Tracks is the story of a parent's worst nightmare, a quiet woman's confrontation with a world of murder, drugs, and corruption, where legitimate authority is mocked and the public trust is trampled. It is an intensely personal story and a story of national importance. It is a tale of multiple murders and of justice repeatedly denied.

The death of a child is bad enough. To learn that the child was murdered is worse. But few tragedies compare with the story of Linda Ives, whose teenage son and his friend were found mysteriously run over by a train. In the months that followed, Ives's world darkened even more as she gradually came to understand that the very officials she turned to for help could not, or would not, solve the murders. The story of betrayal begins locally but quickly expands. Exposing a web of silence and complicity in which drugs, politics, and murder converge, The Boys on the Tracks is a horrifying story from first page to last, and its most frightening aspect is that all of the story is true.

Mara Leveritt has covered this story since it first broke back in 1987. Her approach is one of scrupulous reporting and lively narrative. She weaves profiles and events into a smooth and chilling whole, one that leads the readers to confront, along with Linda Ives, the events' profoundly disturbing implications. A powerful story reminiscent of A Civil Action and Not Without My Daughter, The Boys on the Tracks is destined to become one of the most powerful works published in 1999.
For many who've heard of the West Memphis Three--especially through "Devil's Knot" and/or the feature film based on that book, the story of their trials ended when the court handed down their sentences. For the teenagers, though, that moment marked the start of yet another story, one more dangerous than the first. Jason Baldwin was sixteen, the youngest of the three teenagers, when he heard himself sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole. "Dark Spell" is the account of what it was like to be taken in handcuffs and shackles into Arkansas's adult prison system, where inmates and guards alike saw him as a Satanic child-killer. Many of those who sent him there did not expect him to survive. Prison officials shared the same, realistic fear. More than once, death hovered perilously near. But Jason survived. He survived, day by day and year by year, in one of the harshest environments on American soil. This would be a hard story to bear, save that it is brightened and transformed by Jason's insight and upbeat persona. "Dark Spell" illuminates the many ways America's justice system, once having gone wrong, can fight to sustain that wrong. It celebrates the countless ordinary heroes who rose up, using art and new technology, to challenge trials they perceived as mockeries of justice. At its heart, "Dark Spell" walks readers into prison with an innocent teenager and reveals how he managed to forge a life of honor by not abandoning his personal integrity, demanding an education, and discovering the peace to be found in kicking Hacky Sack.
In 1986, Barry Seal—pilot, smuggler, and federal informant—was gunned down when he appeared at the time and place a federal judge had ordered him to. His assassination was blamed on members of a Colombian drug cartel intent on keeping him quiet. But questions about Seal’s relationships with drug cartels as well as high-ranking American officials have mounted since his death, inspiring conspiracy theories, books, and Hollywood thrillers.

Inquiries into Seal’s activities, including some by congressional committees, led nowhere. Many of the police files about him were reported lost; others were almost totally redacted. Nevertheless, hundreds of records have survived regarding this backwater of the Iran-Contra saga, pointing to government complicity in Seal’s shipments of cocaine into the United States and the powerful measures taken to obscure that involvement.

In brisk and meticulously footnoted order, The Mena File guides readers from the airstrip in the mountains of rural Arkansas (where Seal based his operation) to Nicaraguan jungles and then to courtrooms across the American South, culminating in a pivotal meeting in the nation’s capital. Menace lurks throughout the tale and, just as darkly, in the evidence of how law-enforcement agents who labored to bring Seal to justice found themselves undermined—and ultimately betrayed—by elected and appointed officials.

West Memphis, petite ville de la (TM)Arkansas. Le 5 mai 1993, trois enfants de 8 ans sont portA(c)s disparus. On les retrouve A(c)gorgA(c)s le lendemain dans un bois dA(c)nommA(c) le A nA-ud du diable A. Ils auraient A(c)tA(c) tuA(c)s suite A un rituel satanique.
TrA]s vite, trois adolescents, Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin et Jessie Misskelley sont apprA(c)hendA(c)s suite au tA(c)moignage accablant de deux personnes.
MalgrA(c) une enquAate bA[clA(c)e et une absence totale de preuves, Baldwin et Misskelley sont condamnA(c)s A la perpA(c)tuitA(c), Echols A la peine de morta ]
Face aux incohA(c)rences du dossier, un dA(c)tective privA(c) dA(c)cide de mener sa propre enquAate.
En 2011, les accusA(c)s sont enfin libA(c)rA(c)s. En A(c)change de leur remise en libertA(c), ils ont dA plaider coupable et sa (TM)engager A ne pas poursuivre la (TM)A0/00tat de la (TM)Arkansas pour les dix-huit ans qua (TM)ils ont passA(c)s en prisona ]