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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…

Death penalty for Sirul may be swapped with jail term, says Malaysia's PM

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KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad today said the government might revoke the death sentence on Sirul Azhar Umar, who was convicted in the 2006 murder of Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu, in order to facilitate his extradition from Australia.

“Sirul cannot return to Malaysia because Australia won’t allow someone facing capital punishment to return home,” Mahathir told reporters at a press conference here today.

“We may revoke the death sentence, but replace it with a jail term,” he added.

Mahathir’s comments followed a report by The Guardian claiming that Australia had approved Malaysia’s request for Sirul to be sent back.

The report, which quoted sources, said the request was granted after Malaysia agreed to cover the costs, adding that Sirul was expected to leave Australia within a month.

However, Mahathir said the government had not yet officially asked Australia to extradite Sirul.

Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin meanwhile told news portal Malaysiakini on the sidelines of the press conference that he had no knowledge of the report.

Altantuya, 28, was killed and blown up with military grade explosives in a forest on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur.

Sirul, who was convicted of the murder in 2009, was sentenced to hang together with his accomplice, Azilah Hadri.

They were released when an appeals court overturned the conviction in 2013 after raising questions about how their trial was conducted.

However, the Federal Court upheld their death sentences in 2015. Sirul fled the country ahead of that judgment and has been held at an Australian immigration detention centre in Sydney for the past three years.

Source: FMT News, June 8, 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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