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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…

The Memory of the Pastor and the Painter

It seems we have had to listen to Saudi Arabia defend its barbaric slaughter of 47 human beings on the second day of this new year

They have said over and over that each and every person killed had been given a fair and impartial trial and have been convicted by their courts of acts of terrorism. The courts have upheld the death sentences and the King has signed off on each killing. 

I shake my head in disbelief that these people can say the word fairness when their idea of fairness is tortured confessions by the police, trials without proper defense, secret dealings between prosecutors and the courts. and every other corruption. 

They say fairness a week ago when to end the year they had the Filipino, Mr. Zapanta beheaded. Fair because his family could not raise the blood money to save his life. We have seen their fairness when woman are sentenced to death by stoning for adultery while the man in the tryst is sentenced to a public flogging. 

This kind of fairness sounds like ISIS justice when a 15 year old boy was caught in the home of an ISIS commander's home in a supposed homosexual act. The boy was sentenced to death and executed by being thrown off a tall building, while the commander just lost his commission and sent to Iraq to fight with the hope that being at the front he might lose his life. 

Does that sound like fairness and justice? The Saudi's said they were all terrorists, but the fact is some were political prisoners who had been involved in protests against the Sunni led government's treatment of the Shiite citizens. 

Three of them were juvenile offenders and three more on death row are juvenile offenders one with the horrendous sentence of crucifixion for participating in protest. Yet the Saudi Ministry official can stand before the world and say every one of the dead were given a fair trial.

Thailand can talk all day about fairness in their system but everyone knows it has one of the most corrupt judicial system in the world. Two young men now sit on death row after being accused, arrested, imprisoned, tortured, tried, convicted and sentence by a regime that railroaded them to this end to try and protect their image which would damage their tourist industry. Fairness? Not even close.

Indonesia's AG Prasetyo has defended the killings that he and Joko have been the key figures in getting accomplished as all convicts that have had a fair trial and all their judicial options have been honored and completed. 

Joko's denial of clemency was their last option and with his cold heart he would not even read about the cases. He cared not for rehabilitation. He cared not that the good that Andrew Chan, and Myuran Sukumaran were responsible for in the prisons of Indonesia and the fact that it made them the best tools Joko had to combat the drug problem the prison. 

The officials of Indonesia refused to investigate thoroughly the charges that bribes had been sought by judges for lesser sentences and then refused because the order from the top was the boys had to die. Fairness? When not even a month after the bloody deed in the killing fields that two prison guards were caught trafficking drugs. No death sentence for them, just a loss of job and a slap on the wrist. 

The death sentence and the horrendous life sentences of the other Bali Boys are representative of a judicial system out of control. Joko has no room to protest the killings in Saudi Arabia,yet he has helped save Indonesian workers from the executioners sword by paying blood money to the Saudis at the very same time he was refusing to take phone calls from Tony Abbot of Australia who was trying to save the boys. Fairness?

The United States reaction to Saudi's butchery has been as tepid and limp as a dishrag. What room do we have to talk about fairness or the barbarity of foreign powers killing according to their laws. Here in the US we have men spending years on death row and then exonerated when further evidence surfaces, and most of it is because of ambitious prosecutors who are not above deceit and corruption to get a conviction. 

Confessions gained by threats and torture have later been found to be false when DNA testing blow up in the face of the prosecutors. 66% of the DNA exonerated young people from convictions and sentences for heinous crimes are found to have confessed to the crimes because of police and prosecutor tactics. Fairness? Justice? I think not.

The death penalty is not about justice, It is not about fairness. It is not about protecting the public. It is all about politics, It is all about vengeance. It is all about POWER! It is all about CORRUPTION! It is all about proud, egotistical bastards acting as God and making a MOCKERY out of every person's God given Right to Life.

Bless the memory of the Pastor and the Painter!

Source: Death Penalty News, Op-ed by Bob Turner, January 7, 2016

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