He doesn’t beg your pardon

You get a blunt answer when you ask Damien Echols how much faith he places in the justice system. “None,” he said during an interview in New York. “The justice system is corrupt to the core.”

Echols and two others were imprisoned for 18 years for their purported role in the murder of three 8-year-old boys in West Memphis, Ark., allegedly during a satanic ritual. This was based on little more than their taste for heavy metal music, perceived role as outsiders and one suspect’s questionable confession. The “West Memphis Three” finally were released, following a campaign by celebrities and ordinary people alike, under an Alford plea, maintaining their innocence but agreeing the state might have enough evidence to convict them.

Echols is still fighting to clear his name. “Fuck a pardon,” he said. “A pardon means you’re asking forgiveness for something you’ve done. I didn’t do it, so I don’t want a pardon. What we want is exoneration.” — Karen Sloan


A businessman who was identified — falsely, he says — on online forums as the culprit who dumped a horse’s head in a local official’s pool has made a case for defamation per se, a New York state appellate court has ruled. The court noted a similar episode in The Godfather, “probably one of the most iconic in cinematic history,” and one that “has come to exemplify an act of intimidation through violence.” — New York Law Journal

Not a good thing

In Solingen, Germany, they take their knives seriously — the city has been famous for the quality of its blades since the Middle Ages. Now the city’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce has filed a $24 million lawsuit against Martha Stewart, Emeril Lagasse, their companies and Home Shopping Network, accusing them of passing off knives manufactured in China as fine Solingen steel. The defendants deny “the salient allegations of infringement and counterfeiting,” according to their lawyer, Steve Hill of Atlanta. “What the plaintiffs are suggesting is that if you knew there was any type of cutlery activity going on in Solingen, then you must have known that the word Solingen was registered as a trademark in the U.S.,” he said. — Sheri Qualters

Tea party

An old Southwest Airlines slogan went: “The Somebody Else Up There Who Loves You.” But there’s clearly no love lost between the airline and Angelica Keller of Smyrna, Tenn.: She’s suing over a cup of tea spilled in her lap during a Nashville-to-Houston flight. According to The Tennessean and other published accounts, she claims she suffered blistering, burns and scarring. The airline has replied that Keller herself was negligent for ordering a hot beverage from a bulkhead seat that lacked a seat tray. She seeks $800,000 in damages. — Richard Binder