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Trial by Fire - Did Texas execute an innocent man?

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The fire moved quickly through the house, a one-story wood-frame structure in a working-class neighborhood of Corsicana, in northeast Texas. Flames spread along the walls, bursting through doorways, blistering paint and tiles and furniture. Smoke pressed against the ceiling, then banked downward, seeping into each room and through crevices in the windows, staining the morning sky.
Buffie Barbee, who was eleven years old and lived two houses down, was playing in her back yard when she smelled the smoke. She ran inside and told her mother, Diane, and they hurried up the street; that’s when they saw the smoldering house and Cameron Todd Willingham standing on the front porch, wearing only a pair of jeans, his chest blackened with soot, his hair and eyelids singed. He was screaming, “My babies are burning up!” His children—Karmon and Kameron, who were one-year-old twin girls, and two-year-old Amber—were trapped inside.
Willingham told the Barbees to call the Fire Department, and while Dia…

California edging back towards executions with lethal injection plan

California's Death Row
California's Death Row
Prison officials draw up single-drug protocol but death penalty has not been carried out since 2006 and public support is in decline

California prison officials have filed proposed new guidelines for lethal injection, a step towards resuming executions in a state that has not carried one out since 2006.

The most populous US state – where public support for the death penalty has been slipping for years – stopped executing prisoners after Clarence Ray Allen was put to death nearly 10 years ago for three murders in Fresno.

The state put executions on hold partly because of legal issues, including a lawsuit questioning the constitutionality of the three-drug mixture used for lethal injections.

But politicians in California also have not wanted to force the issue in a state where many top officeholders, including the attorney general, oppose the death penalty. A slim majority of voters, about 56%, support it, the lowest number in years according to a Field Poll in 2014.

This year the state said it would not appeal a court order halting executions until a single-drug protocol could be developed.

On Tuesday the proposed method, details of which were not released, were filed with the state Office of Administrative Law for review, said Jeffrey Callison, spokesman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. They would become public next week, Callison said.

The proposed new protocol would be open to input from the public starting next week and it could take up to a year for the rules to be finalized, said Terry Thornton, a spokeswoman for the corrections department.


Source: The Guardian, October 28, 2015

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