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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…

Obama commutes the sentences of a record number of inmates

President Obama
President Obama granted clemency to a record 214 inmates on Wednesday, far surpassing his previous single-day record, as part of an ongoing effort to release federal inmates serving prison terms deemed to be unduly harsh.

To date, Obama has commuted the sentences of 562 federal inmates, more than the previous nine presidents combined. 

The White House said in a statement that the president will continue commuting the sentences of inmates through his remaining months in office.

“Today began like any other for 214 federal inmates across the country, but ultimately became a day I am confident they will never forget,” said Neil Eggleston, the White House counsel. 

The 214 inmates freed represents the most commutations in a single day since at least 1900, Eggleston said.

Typically, Obama has granted clemency to 40 or 50 inmates a month. In this case, 67 of the 214 inmates had been sentenced to life in prison. 

Almost all of those released from their sentences on Wednesday had been convicted of nonviolent drug crimes, according to the White House.

The White House said the large number of commutations underscores the need for broader criminal justice reform, which has some bipartisan support but has stalled in Congress.

“While we continue to work to act on as many clemency applications as possible, only legislation can bring about lasting change to the federal system,” Eggleston said. “It is critical that both the House and the Senate continue to work on a bipartisan basis to get a criminal justice reform bill to the President’s desk.”

Click here to read the full article (+ list of inmates)

Source: The Washington Post, Greg Jaffe, August 2016

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