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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…

Louisiana: Judge to decide if death-row inmates get air conditioning

Louisiana's death row
Louisiana's death row
A federal judge will decide whether to order a Louisiana prison to install air conditioning for inmates on death row, according to the Associated Press.

Prison officials at Louisiana State Penitentiary have for three years maintained that ice, fans and a cold shower are enough to protect the inmates from heat and humidity.

The request for air conditioning came from three death-row inmates with medical problems.

U.S. District Judge Brian Jackson on Friday questioned why prison officials won’t spent the $1 million to install air conditioning for death-row inmates, especially when the state has already spent more than that to fight it in court.

A hearing is scheduled for June 15 for testimony about the effectiveness of the heat-control measures.

Jackson ruled in 2013 that it is unconstitutional to keep inmates where the heat index exceeds 88 degrees. An appeals court in 2015 rules prisoners could get heat relief without air conditioning and the state crafted a “heat remediation plan” involving cold showers, fans and ice chests. Lawyers for the inmates say the plan isn’t working, though.

Temperatures this year have already exceeded the 99-degree threshold.

“One must wonder: Is this really what the state wants to do?” Jackson asked. “It just seems so unnecessary.”

Source: The Hill, Jessie Hellmann, May 21, 2016

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