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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…

Taiwan 'moving toward' abolishing death penalty

Taiwan
The Ministry of Justice yesterday responded to EU calls to abolish capital punishment by saying that Taiwan's justice system is moving toward that goal in the long term, adding that a high percentage of Taiwanese still favor the death penalty for certain crimes.

Taiwan, China, Japan and the US were among the nations criticized in the Council of the EU's Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World in 2015, which was released on Monday.

The report said that 101 countries have abolished the death penalty, as the EU reaffirmed "its opposition to the death penalty and use of all diplomatic tools at its disposal to advance the cause of worldwide abolition."

"The EU deplored the continuing use of the death penalty in various parts of the world: Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Belarus, Egypt, Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, China, Vietnam, Taiwan, and the USA were a particular focus of attention," it added, as the EU urged these nations to abolish capital punishment. Deputy Minister of Justice Chen Ming-tang yesterday said the ministry's ultimate goal is to abolish capital punishment in Taiwan, "but current public surveys indicate that 82 % of the people are against abolition of the death penalty."

Chen said the ministry has undertaken 4 measures toward this long-term objective: ending legal requirements for "mandatory capital punishment" for certain crimes; taking steps for the judiciary to deliberate on "discretionary capital punishment"; handing out the death penalty with extreme prudence; and carrying out the death penalty with extreme prudence.

"We are currently reviewing and assessing this issue," Chen said. "The ministry will take very careful approaches on handling this issue and carrying out the death penalty, before our nation has formally abolished it," Chen said.

Other judicial officials said that the ministry is still responsible for policies on the death penalty, and that the nation's laws still retain the death penalty.

Source: Taipei Times, June 22, 2016

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