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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…

Burkina Faso abolishes death penalty in new penal code

Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso's parliament has abolished the death penalty by adopting a new penal code that strikes it as a possible sentence.

Justice Minister Rene Bagoro said Thursday that the revised document paves the way for "more credible, equitable, accessible and effective justice in the application of criminal law."

The death penalty was kept in the version of the criminal code adopted in 1996, but Burkina Faso has not imposed capital punishment recently.

Many rights movements, including Amnesty International and Catholic Church activists have pressed the government for a decade to remove it from criminal statutes.

The decision to abolish the death penalty comes amid a landmark trial this year over a failed 2015 coup. 

Two former presidential aides are among more than 80 people facing the military tribunal.

Source: The Associated Press, May 31, 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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