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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…

China turns down final plea for stay of execution of Filipino drug mules

China has turned down the Philippine government's final plea for another—perhaps permanent—stay of execution for convicted Filipino drug mules Sally Ordinario-Villanueva, Elizabeth Batain and Ramon Credo.

Ethan Y. Sun, spokesman of the Chinese Embassy in Makati City, on Monday told the Inquirer that Beijing's position on the issue had been "made clear" as early as last February when the Supreme People's Court in the Chinese capital sentenced the three convicts to death.

"The position of the Chinese side has been made clear on its judicial decision," Sun said.

Last Saturday, Chinese Ambassador Liu Jianchao asked for understanding from the Philippine government and from Filipinos about the executions that he said would now have to take place under their laws.

On March 24, the Department of Foreign Affairs announced the executions will be carried out on Wednesday.

Villanueva, 32, and Credo, 42, will be executed in Xiamen, and Batain, 38, in Shenzhen, said the DFA.

The 3 were arrested separately in 2008 for smuggling 4 to 6 kilograms of heroin to China.

China had postponed the executions, originally scheduled for February 20, following an official visit to Beijing by Vice President Jejomar Binay on President Aquino’s behalf.

The President on Saturday told reporters they had been "communicating (with Chinese authorities) continuously ... We're still trying to get them to reduce the penalty. But there's a limit to what we can do."

Aquino also said, "At the end of the day, these were crimes committed in a different country. It doesn't help that they admitted they were doing something illegal."

"But it doesn't make us stop trying," he added.

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer, March 28, 2011
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