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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…

Texas inmate Kimberly McCarthy granted 60-day reprieve

The planned execution of a female inmate in Texas has been postponed for 60-days by a judge in the Lone Star state.

The execution, which was planned for after 6 p.m. this evening would have been the first time in over two years a female inmate would have faced the death penalty.

Kimberly McCarthy, 51, was sentenced to death for the 1997 robbery, beating and fatal stabbing of her 71-year-old neighbour Dorothy Booth - she was due to receive a lethal injection.

State District Judge Larry Mitchell issued a reprieve for 51-year-old Kimberly McCarthy less than five hours before she could have been taken to the death chamber for the 1997 slaying of a neighbor.

Dallas County Assistant District Attorney Shelly Yeatts says McCarthy's execution date now is April 3.

McCarthy's lawyers contend the jury that convicted her of murder was improperly selected on the basis of race. McCarthy is black. Her jury was made up of 11 whites and one black person.

Source: Huffington Post, January 29, 2013

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