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Did Texas execute an innocent man? Film revisits a haunting question.

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Texans will have an opportunity to revisit a question that should haunt anyone who believes in the integrity of our criminal justice system: Did our state execute an innocent man? 
The new film “Trial by Fire” tells the true story of Cameron Todd Willingham, who was sentenced to death for setting a fire to his home in Corsicana that killed his three young daughters in 1991. The film is based on an investigative story by David Grann that appeared in the New Yorker in 2009, five years after Willingham was executed over his vociferous protestations of innocence.
In my experience of serving 8 years on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and 4 years as a state district judge in Travis County, the Willingham case stands out to me for many of the same reasons it stood out to filmmaker Edward Zwick, who calls it a veritable catalogue of everything that’s wrong with the criminal justice system and, especially, the death penalty. False testimony, junk science, a jailhouse informant, and ineffe…

California: Cop killer applauds jury for giving him death penalty

Luis Bracamontes
Jurors left a Sacramento courthouse in tears after they recommended giggling cop killer Luis Bracamontes be sentenced to death for the slaying of two California officers.

Bracamontes cheered when a jury in February convicted him for the 2014 murders of Sacramento County Sheriff’s Deputy Danny Oliver and Placer Sheriff’s Detective Michael Davis Jr. He was also found guilty of attempted murder, carjacking, weapons violations and other crimes.

Bracamontes, who is an undocumented Mexican immigrant, has repeatedly confessed his guilt and has even requested the death penalty amid his dozens of courtroom outbursts.

He spent the bulk of his trial with a grin on his face, at times breaking into fits of giggles as prosecutors described his violent tear on Oct. 24, 2014.

Investigators said Bracamontes and his wife, Janelle Marquez Monroy, led police on six-hour car chase through Placer County and into Auburn, where the deadly spree came to a violent end.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Steve White on Friday sentenced Monroy to nearly 50 years behind bars for the role she played in her husband’s day-long crime spree.

The cop killer maintained his giddy demeanor on Tuesday, when jurors handed him the death penalty after nearly four hours of deliberation. Bracamontes laughed when he learned his fate, locking eyes with Oliver’s mother — who grinned back, unfazed, CBS 13 reported.

Oliver’s sister, Phyllis Sylvia, dismissed Bracamontes and his offensive courtroom behavior.

“He’s a coward,” she said.

Bracamontes’ case was thrust into the spotlight by President Trump, who featured the convicted killer in an ad in January. It took aim at Democrats for being “complicit” in the murders of law enforcement officers by those in the country illegally.

Source: Sun Sentinel, Jessica Schladebeck, March 29, 2018


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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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