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…

Arkansas: Federal Judge Gives Injunction In One, Possibly Two Scheduled Executions

Arkansas' death chamber
Arkansas' death chamber
A federal judge has granted an injunction in the execution of Jason F. McGehee, one of the eight Arkansas inmates scheduled to be executed later this month.

Marshall denied requests for injunctions for five other condemned men whom the parole board did not recommend clemency.

Eastern District Judge D.P. "Price" Marshall, Jr. ruled Thursday that McGehee, for whom the parole board recommended clemency Wednesday, should not be executed before a required 30-day public comment period could be honored.

Judge Marshall granted a possible second injunction in the case of Jack Jones. His clemency hearing is scheduled for Friday, and he will be granted an injunction if he is recommended as well.

Arkansas plans to execute eight men in 10 days this month before one of its lethal injection drugs expires. McGehee’s injunction makes it unlikely he will be executed this month if the governor does not approve his clemency before the state’s supply of midazolam expires.

Clemency hearings have been held without the required 30-day lag before an execution. They’ve also been cut from two hours to one.

Attorneys for the inmates argued those changes make it legally impossible to grant clemency ahead of the deadline. They also said the clemency process has been disorganized and certain parities were not mailed full clemency applications.

Lawyers for the state argued it’s in the public interest to execute before Arkansas’s drugs expire.

Marshall denied other requests for injunctions in the cases of five men whose request for clemency recommendations were rejected by the parole board. He cited U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Ohio Adult Parole Authority v. Woodard, which he said sets a very minimal bar for due process in execution clemency cases.

Marshall said he struggled with the decision because aspects of the clemency process had clearly been disorganized and various stakeholders had not received the inmates’ full clemency applications.

This story is produced by Arkansas Public Media. What's that? APM is a nonprofit journalism project for all of Arkansas and a collaboration among public media in the state. We're funded in part through a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, with the support of partner stations KUAR, KUAF, KASU and KTXK. And, we hope, from you! You can learn more and support Arkansas Public Media's reporting at arkansaspublicmedia.org. Arkansas Public Media is Natural State news with context.

Source: KUAR, April 6, 2017

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