Trial by Fire - Did Texas execute an innocent man?

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…

Japan: Diet enacts law for mandatory recording of suspect questioning

Japanese police officers
CRIME MAY. 25, 2016 - 06:49AM JST ( 25 ) TOKYO — The Japanese Diet on Tuesday enacted a law to make a series of changes to criminal proceedings, including obligating police and prosecutors to record interrogations of suspects and expanding the scope of wiretapping by investigators.

But questions remain regarding whether the measures will sufficiently protect people from facing false charges, with the number of cases subject to audiovisual recording to improve the transparency of investigations limited to around 3% of total offenses.

Under the law, which will be brought into effect within three years, the entirety of interrogation processes must be recorded in cases subject to lay judge trials, including murder and robbery resulting in death, as well as cases investigated by special prosecutor squads, which often deal with corporate crimes and corruption.

Recording will also be limited to the questioning of “suspects,” not “defendants” detained after being indicted in different cases. As an exception, investigators will be allowed to stop recording if they decide a suspect is being uncooperative.

The law also expands the range of cases in which investigators can wiretap phones and e-mails by adding nine further types of crimes including murder, fraud and robbery, and drug crime.

A plea bargaining system will also be introduced, in which prosecutors will agree not to indict or to withdraw an indictment if the suspect or defendant gives evidence against another person.

The bill to revise the Code of Criminal Procedure and other laws passed the House of Councillors last week. It was sent to the House of Representatives for passage on Tuesday.

Source: Japan Today, May 25, 2016

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