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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…

Death for Qatari for killing British teacher

Doha: A Doha court on Thursday sentenced a Qatari national to death for the murder last year of 24-year-old British teacher Lauren Patterson, a judicial source said.

A second Qatari, Mohammad Hassan Abdul Aziz, was given three years in prison for aiding the first convict, Badr Khamis Abdullah Hashim, in “burning the body of Lauren Patterson and erasing evidence” of the murder, the source said.

The men were arrested after the teacher’s charred remains were found by campers near Doha.

Patterson, who taught at a primary school in Doha, was last seen leaving the night club of a luxury hotel with two men, British media had reported. Her body was found soon afterwards.

In October, the interior ministry announced that Qatari security forces had made arrests over the murder, without giving details on the circumstances surrounding her death.

According to rights group Death Penalty Worldwide, the last judicial killing in Qatar was in 2003 when a murderer was executed by firing squad.

Source: Agence France-Presse, March 27, 2014

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