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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…

Carlos De Luna Execution: Texas Put To Death An Innocent Man, Columbia University Team Says

Carlos De Luna (left) and Carlos Hernandez
One of the strongest arguments against the death penalty is the frightening chance of executing an innocent person. Columbia University law professor James Liebman said he and a team of students have proven that Texas gave a lethal injection to the wrong man.

Carlos De Luna was executed in 1989 for stabbing to death a gas station clerk in Corpus Christi six years earlier. It was a ghastly crime. The trial attracted local attention, but not from concern that a guiltless man would be punished while the killer went free.

De Luna, an eighth grade dropout, maintained that he was innocent from the moment cops put him in the back seat of a patrol car until the day he died. Today, 29 years after De Luna was arrested, Liebman and his team published a mammoth report in the Human Rights Law Review that concludes De Luna paid with his life for a crime he likely did not commit. Shoddy police work, the prosecution's failure to pursue another suspect, and a weak defense combined to send De Luna to death row, they argued.

"I would say that across the board, there was nonchalance," Liebman told The Huffington Post. "It looked like a common case, but we found that there was a very serious claim of innocence."


Source: Huffington Post, May 15, 2012

Related articles:
May 27, 2008
Of all those executions, he was most haunted by that of Carlos De Luna, convicted of stabbing to death a gas station clerk in Corpus Christi, Tex., in 1983. Mr. De Luna asked if he could call the minister Daddy on the day in...

Dec 13, 2010
There were two eyewitnesses who played a key role in the conviction of De Luna. ... Little to no physical evidence was collected at the crime scene, including blood samples and fingerprints that could have helped De Luna.
http://deathpenaltynews.blogspot.com/

Sep 20, 2009
The state of Texas executed DeLuna in 1989 for stabbing to death a clerk at a convenience store. At his trial, DeLuna's lawyers attempted to show that the murder was committed by a man named Carlos Hernandez. The lead ...

Aug 27, 2007
Carlos De Luna was killed by the State of Texas in 1990, but there is good reason to believe that another man was the more likely killer (Possley andMills, Chicago Tribune, June 25, 2006). "I'm an innocent black man that is...

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