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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…

Indonesia: Cleric calls on govt not to carry out executions... during Ramadhan

A local leader of Indonesia's biggest Islamic organization has called on the Attorney General's Office (AGO) not to carry out the anticipated execution of several drug convicts during the fasting month of Ramadhan, which begins on July 6.

KH. Maslahuddin, the chairman of Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) in Cilacap, Central Java, said it was hoped the government would respect the holiness of Ramadhan and give the death row inmates a chance to repent before God in the special month for Muslim people.

"After that, please carry out the execution as quickly as possible. Do not postpone it further," Maslahuddin told journalists last week. 

He said if necessary the executions could even be conducted before Ramadhan. "So that prosecutors, firing squad personnel, the Muslim death row inmates and other parties involved in the execution can be devoted to carrying out their Ramadhan religious services," Maslahuddin said. [Hypocrisy and bigotry rule the world - DPN]

He said it was important that the AGO not repeatedly postpone the execution of the convicts, especially in the case of those whose court ruling was already final and could not be legally challenged, so the punishment would create a deterrent effect on other drug crime perpetrators.

"It should be conducted as soon as possible -- the sooner the better. The execution and threat of the death penalty must be continuously communicated to the public so that potential perpetrators think twice before committing such crimes," said Maslahuddin.

Repeatedly postponing the execution of the sentences would only open room for perpetrators to file appeals or use other legal measures in an effort to escape the death penalty.

Citing an example, Maslahuddin said the second appeal and a repent and forswear request letter filed by drug convict Freddy Budiman at the Cilacap District Court were merely aimed at postponing the execution of his death sentence.

As reported earlier, the AGO confirmed it would soon carry out a 3rd round of executions conducted under President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo. However, the AGO has not yet provided details on the date of the execution and the number of inmates to be executed.

The government reportedly delayed the execution due to ongoing legal measures by lawyers of several convicts. The AGO executed 14 people convicted for drug crimes in 2 rounds last year.

Source: Jakarta Post, May 30, 2016

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