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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…

Malaysian Bar resolves to demand end to death penalty now

Screenshot from 'Apprentice' by Boo Jungeng (2016)
KUALA LUMPUR, March 17 — Lawyers voted to pass a resolution calling for the death penalty to be abolished including for drug trafficking offences.

The Malaysian Bar also passed a resolution during its 72nd annual general assembly calling for the immediate implementation of the Dangerous Drugs Act amendment that gives judges discretionary power to mete out sentences other than the death penalty.

“The Malaysian Bar opposes the death penalty because it takes the view that life is sacred, and every person has an inherent right to life,” read the resolution.

“The right to life is a fundamental right that is absolute, inalienable and universal, and must be held inviolate, irrespective of the crime committed by the accused person,” it added.

Putrajaya is currently considering removing the death penalty, including for drug offences.

But in its resolution, the Malaysian Bar said it was disappointed by the delay in the implementation to the DDA amendments.

It noted that the delay has caused the execution of eight drug-related convicts.

It is now calling for the Malaysian government to “swiftly abolish the death penalty for all crimes”.

“The right to life is a fundamental right that is absolute, inalienable and universal, and must be held inviolate, irrespective of the crime committed by the accused person.” 

“Stop all further executions, undertake a review of all cases of those sentenced to death prior to the coming into force of legislation removing the death penalty as a punishment.

The resolution also wants the government to commute or recommend the commutation of each such death sentence to one term of imprisonment to commensurate with the circumstances of individual cases.

The Malaysian Bar said it would continue to take any necessary action, including engaging and collaborating with stakeholders in pursuance to achieving the resolution.

Source: Malay Mail Online, March , 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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