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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…

Arkansas judge strikes secrecy portion of execution law

LITTLE ROCK — An Arkansas judge struck down a portion of the state's execution law that keeps secret the source of drugs it uses, saying Thursday that drug suppliers do not have a constitutional right to be free from criticism.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen sided with death row inmates who challenged a law passed by lawmakers this year that prevents disclosure about the drugs that are used in executions.

The judge also ordered the state to disclose drug details, including the makers and suppliers, by noon Friday.

"It is common knowledge that capital punishment is not universally popular," Griffen wrote. "That reality is not a legitimate reason to shield the entities that manufacture, supply, distribute, and sell lethal injection drugs from public knowledge."

Judd Deere, a spokesman for Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, said late Thursday that the office had filed notice of appeal with the state Supreme Court. 

Rutledge also asked for an immediate stay of Griffen's order.

"Attorney General Rutledge has a duty to defend the State's lethal injection statute and disagrees with Judge Griffen's order," Deere wrote in an emailed statement.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said the judge's decision was "troubling" because the drug suppliers were assured confidentiality, "so a sale was accomplished based upon that law and that promise of confidentiality."

"There's already a stay of the executions at issue by the court and so I can't see any necessity for the immediate disclosure of that information," he said.

Source: The Associated Press, December 3, 2015

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