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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…

Japan: many death-row inmates on meds

Execution chamber
at Tokyo's Detention Center
December 30, 2011: Nearly half of death row inmates in Japan are on full-time medication for mental stress, the Justice Ministry said.

A ministry official said 56 of 124 inmates on death row have complained of psychological symptoms such as insomnia and hallucinations and have been continuously treated with drugs, The Yomiuri Shimbun reported.

Such symptoms can occur because of confinement in closed spaces for a long period of time, and since some inmates have been detained for more than 30 years it is suspected the symptoms are the result of their lengthy detention, experts said.

Under Japanese law, if a death row inmate is diagnosed as insane, the justice minister will order the suspension of the execution.

However, a high-ranking ministry official has said no inmates currently on death row have been so diagnosed.

"As far as we could tell, there are no death row inmates who are insane," the official said.

Source: UPI, December 30, 2011

Related article:
Sep 10, 2009
According to Japan's code of criminal procedure, if a person condemned to death is in a state of insanity, the execution shall be stayed by the justice minister. But, Amnesty says, executions of inmates who exhibit signs of...

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