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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…

Saudi Arabia inaugurates 2012 with two beheadings

RYADH - Two Saudis sentenced to death for drug trafficking were beheaded today [January 2, 2012] in eastern Saudi Arabia in the first executions of 2012, the Saudi Ministry of Interior said earlier today.

Mustafa al-Zine and Anas al-D'him, convicted of drug trafficking on a large scale, were executed in the Al-Ahsa region, the ministry said in a statement quoted by the official Saudi agency Spa.

At least 76 death-row inmates were executed in 2011, according to an AFP tally. Amnesty International estimated that at least 79 executions were carried out in Saudi Arabia during the last year.

Rape, murder, apostasy, armed robbery, homosexuality and drug trafficking are punishable by death in Saudi Arabia, which strictly applies the Sharia law.

Source: Agence France-Presse, January 2, 2012

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