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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: Five Executed for Murder and Drugs

June 26, 2012: Saudi authorities beheaded four of its citizens for murder and a Syrian national for drug smuggling, the interior ministry said.

Three Saudi nationals were executed in the kingdom's eastern Qatif region for stabbing and then shooting to death an Indian, Kohimo Ahmad, after robbing the shop where he worked, the ministry said in a statement carried by state news agency SPA.

Hussein bin Ahmad Shweikhat, Abdel Aziz bin Hasan al-Maatouq and Hussein bin Ibrahim al-Maatouq were beheaded after the three were found guilty of having stabbed and then shot Ahmad with an automatic rifle.

In a separate case, Khaled bin Saeed al-Asmari, was executed in the town of Abhaa in the kingdom's southern region of Asir for stabbing to death fellow Saudi, Abdullah bin Saad al-Masmaa, after a dispute, the ministry said.

And William Hatoum, a Syrian, was executed in the northern region of Jawf after being found guilty of smuggling drugs into the ultra-conservative kingdom, it said.

Hatoum was the third Syrian national to be executed in Saudi Arabia for drug smuggling since January.

The latest beheadings bring to 45 the number of people executed in Saudi Arabia so far this year, according to an AFP tally based on official reports.

Source: Agence France-Presse, June 26, 2012

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