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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 beheads citizen for murder

RIYADH, May 29, 2012 (AFP) - Saudi Arabia on Tuesday beheaded one of its citizens in the western province of Taef after convicting him of murder, the interior ministry said.

Majed ben Ghabish al-Husni was found guilty of shooting to death fellow national, Abdel Mohsen Basha, after a disagreement, the ministry said in a statement carried by the official SPA news agency.

His beheading brings to 29 the total number of executions in the ultra-conservative kingdom so far this year, according to an AFP tally based on official reports.

Under the AFP count, at least 76 people were beheaded in 2011 in Saudi Arabia, while rights group Amnesty International put the number of executions last year at 79.

The death penalty in Saudi Arabia applies to a wide range of offences including rape, apostasy, armed robbery, homosexuality and drug trafficking, as well as murder, as stipulated by Islamic Sharia law.

Source: Agence France-Presse, May 29, 2012

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