The circuit court judge who rejected a new trial for death-row inmate Damien Echols says the Arkansas Supreme Court was simply doing its job when it overturned his ruling and ordered new hearings in the case.
Circuit Court Judge David Burnett was in Little Rock on Thursday for freshman orientation for new state senators. He’s stepping down from the bench at the end of the year to serve in the Legislature.
The Arkansas Supreme Court ordered new evidentiary hearings for Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley, the men known as the West Memphis Three. The court ruled that Burnett should have considered newly analyzed DNA evidence before rejecting Echols’ request for a new trial.
Burnett says he neither agrees nor disagrees with the court’s ruling — that he made his decision and the court made theirs. He says he did what he thought was appropriate at the time and that the court viewed the case differently.
The case will be assigned to another judge in the east Arkansas district, and no date has been set for the hearings.