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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…

Indonesia: Australian man faces death penalty after being caught with 1.7 kg of methamphetamine in his luggage at Bali's airport

AUSTRALIAN man Michael Sacatides faces the death penalty in Indonesia after being formally charged with drug importation offences yesterday.

Sacatides, 43, was caught with 1.7 kilograms of methamphetamine in his luggage at Bali's airport last month.

He maintains his innocence.

Bali police handed a dossier of evidence to prosecutors yesterday, who charged Sacatides with importing drugs, an offence that carries a maximum penalty of death by firing squad.

Sacatides is a kickboxing instructor who hails from Sydney but lived in Bangkok for several years.

He was moved to Kerobokan prison on October 27 and will join three other Australians on death row for drug offences.

Scott Rush, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran have legal appeals in train.

Sacatides is expected to front a Denpasar court next month.

He has previously told police a man who gave him the bag containing the drugs was a former business associate.

Source: The Age, November 26, 2010 (local time)


Aussie charged over Bali drug smuggling

An Australian man accused of smuggling drugs into Bali will face trial on charges that carry the death penalty, Indonesian prosecutors have confirmed.

Michael Sacatides (left), 43, was arrested at Bali's international airport on October 1 when customs officers found 1.7kg of methamphetamine concealed in his luggage.

The kickboxing trainer from Sydney's west has been in police custody ever since. After a two-month investigation police on Thursday finally handed the case to the Denpasar District Attorney's Office.

Prosecutor Ketut Sujaya confirmed Sacatides was charged under articles 112 and 113 of Indonesia's narcotics laws for possessing and importing drugs.

The latter charge carries a maximum penalty of death where the volume of drugs exceeds five grams.

"We will deliver this to the court in a week to 10 days at the latest," Mr Sujaya told reporters.

Sacatides' lawyer Erwin Siregar said he expected the case to go to trial in the coming months.

"In my estimation, the trial will begin at the end of December or early January," he said.

Sacatides has denied the drugs - worth an estimated $A390,000 - belong to him. He told investigators he had borrowed the bag from an Indian associate in Bangkok, where he had been living.

Three Australians - Scott Rush, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran - are currently on death row in Bali's Kerobokan Prison over a 2005 attempt to smuggle more than 8kg of heroin from Bali to Australia.

All three currently have final appeals - known as judicial reviews - before the Indonesian Supreme Court.

Another six members of the so-called Bali Nine are serving sentences of between 20 years and life in prison over the plot.

The Gold Coast's Schapelle Corby is serving 20 years for smuggling more than 4kg of marijuana into Bali in 2004.

Source: AAP, November 26, 2010 (local time)

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