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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…

Another South Korean drug trafficker executed in China

South Korean authorities reportedly made some efforts to prevent execution on humanitarian grounds

China has executed a South Korean man for trafficking drugs, only 1 day after 2 South Koreans were executed for the same charge on Aug. 6.

The South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed on Aug. 7, "A South Korean citizen surnamed Jang, 56, was executed by Chinese authorities after Chinese People's Court at Qingdao, Shandong Province indicted him for trafficking methamphetamine in China".

Jang was caught by the Chinese law enforcement authorities in charge of drug trafficking with 11.9kg of methamphetamine in China in June 2009, and he was sentenced to death by Qingdao Intermediate People's Court during its 1st trial in May 2012. The decision was then upheld by both Shandong Province High People's Court and the Supreme People's Court.

The Chinese law enforcement authorities informed the South Korean consulate in Qingdao on Aug. 1 that Jang's execution was scheduled to take place within this week, or possibly earlier.

A South Korean government official emphasized its efforts to prevent Jang's execution by saying, "After Jang was sentenced to death, the government also made requests at various levels to have the death penalty waived on humanitarian grounds". But, there are criticisms that the South Korean government's measures were limited to conventional and passive responses, despite the death sentence being announced in advance.

Source: The Hankyoreh, August 8, 2014

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