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The West Memphis Murders: A case study in Criminal Justice Reform

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 Judge Dan Stidham


Stidham was engaged in the private practice of law prior to becoming a full-time District Court Judge on January 1st, 2008. During his private practice which spanned a period of twenty years, he served as a Public Defender and was admitted to practice in all Courts in the State of Arkansas, the United States District Court for the Eastern and Western Districts of Arkansas, and the United States Supreme Court.


Stidham accumulated a broad range of litigation experience including one of the most well-known criminal cases in Arkansas history. That case, a triple homicide in West Memphis, Arkansas in 1993 has been the subject of countless news stories and four documentaries ioncluding HBO's Pardise Lost Trilogy and West of Memphis a film by Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Amy Berg. This case has resulted in Stidham appearing on National television on many occasions including the NBC Nightly News, MSNBC and Court TV's Prime Time Justice. In 1996, Judge Stidham's experience in the West Memphis murder case was the subject of a cover story in the Arkansas Times Magazine  (See the News and Events  section of this Web site).


Stidham is a frequent speaker on college campuses and at professional meetings around the Country regarding criminal law issues and the West Memphis murder case. He has spoken at various Bar association and Trial Lawyer association sponsored seminars and was an invited speaker at the Inaugural meeting of the Academy of Behavioral Profiling in October of 1999 where he gave a presentation on the "West Memphis Case: A Case Study in Criminal Profiling and the Law."  In March of 2004, Judge Stidham was an invited speaker at the “Equal Justice Works Symposium for the Wrongfully Accused.”


Stidham enjoys life with his family in Paragould, Arkansas. His personal interests include reading, forensic science and false confession issues, psychology, sociology, political science and philosophy. When he is not on the Bench, he can sometimes be found pursuing his passion for the ocean and offshore fishing in such venues as Venice, Louisiana, Panama, the Bahamas, Costa Rica, Belize and Guatamala. Stidham is also an avid collector of antique fishing lures and vintage books. One book in his collection was published in 1635 and is entitled the Humiliation of the Son of God. It is one of only four known copies in the World.



Presentation Date: April 1, 2017

Only paid registrants are allowed to add the provided CLE sessions to their NALS.org Professional Development Journal. 

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