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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…

Zimbabwe President Mnangagwa Releases Thousands From Prison

Emmerson Mnangagwa
ED Mnangagwa is commuting death sentences for some prisoners and releasing thousands of people from prison, including most women and everyone under age 18.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa's announcement Wednesday is an effort to ease overcrowded prisons. 

"The exercise has not only gone a long way in decongesting our prisons but has served as a reminder to inmates and society that the purpose of imprisonment is founded on the pretext of reformation than retribution," Alford Mashango Dube, prison deputy commissioner-general, was quoted as saying by local media. 

"It is now left to society to ensure that those released reintegrate safely and well within their respective communities."

The mass amnesty is Mnangagwa's first act of clemency since he was sworn in in November. 

Mnangagwa has said he is against the death penalty because he once survived hanging when the southern African nation was still colonial Rhodesia.

Nearly 100 people are on death row in the country of 13 million. 

Those on it for at least a decade are having their sentences commuted to life in prison.

Zimbabwe's last execution was in 2005, partly because no one was willing to be the hangman.

All women except those serving life sentences are being freed. Also freed are prisoners who are disabled or terminally ill and those sentenced to life before Feb. 28, 1998.

About 3,000 prisoners are expected to benefit, said prison deputy commissioner-general Alford Mashango Dube. 

Zimbabwe's prisons currently hold about 20,000 inmates but have a capacity of only 17,000. 

Zimbabwe's former leader Robert Mugabe in November said he was considering resuming executions. But weeks later Mnangagwa took power with the military's assistance after factional fighting within the ruling party.

Source: pazimbabwe.com, March 22, 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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