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Did Texas execute an innocent man? Film revisits a haunting question.

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Texans will have an opportunity to revisit a question that should haunt anyone who believes in the integrity of our criminal justice system: Did our state execute an innocent man? 
The new film “Trial by Fire” tells the true story of Cameron Todd Willingham, who was sentenced to death for setting a fire to his home in Corsicana that killed his three young daughters in 1991. The film is based on an investigative story by David Grann that appeared in the New Yorker in 2009, five years after Willingham was executed over his vociferous protestations of innocence.
In my experience of serving 8 years on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and 4 years as a state district judge in Travis County, the Willingham case stands out to me for many of the same reasons it stood out to filmmaker Edward Zwick, who calls it a veritable catalogue of everything that’s wrong with the criminal justice system and, especially, the death penalty. False testimony, junk science, a jailhouse informant, and ineffe…

Palestine: Hamas pushes for Sharia punishments

December 24, 2008: The Hamas parliament in the Gaza Strip voted in favour of a law allowing courts to mete out sentences in the spirit of Islam, the London-based Arab daily Al Hayat reported.

According to the bill, approved in its second reading and awaiting a third reading before the approval of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, as the Palestinian constitution demands, courts will be able to condemn offenders to a plethora of violent punitive measures in line with Sharia Law.

Such punishments include whipping, crucifixion and hanging.

The bill is made up of 214 subsections. Section 59 states that "any Palestinian found guilty of raising a weapon against Palestine in favor of the enemy; countering Palestine's interests in a negotiation with a foreign government; and placing Palestine's existence in danger by committing an act of aggression against a foreign country... will be sentenced to death."

A similar fate awaits anyone found guilty of the following: "Joining a foreign army fighting Palestine or facilitating such action; demoralizing the Palestinian people to any of its resistance movements; spying on Palestine or engaging in espionage during wartime."

According to the report, any Palestinian caught drinking or selling wine would suffer 40 lashes at the whipping post if the bill passes. Thieves caught red-handed would lose their right hand.

Source: Ynetnews.com, Jpost.com, 24/12/2008

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