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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…

Saudi Court Condemns 4 To Death For Forming 'Iran Cell'

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A Saudi court has sentenced 4 people to death for links to regional rival Iran, alleging that they were plotting the assassination of "prominent figures", state media said Thursday.

"The criminal court has sentenced four terrorists to death for forming a cell for Iran," the state-owned Al-Ekhbariya TV reported.

"The terrorists were trained in camps in Iran" and "planned to assassinate prominent figures," Al-Ekhbariya said, without giving any more details on those convicted.

Sunni powerhouse Saudi Arabia and Iran, the predominant Shiite power, have a long history of rivalry. They today stand on opposing sides of conflicts in the Middle East, from Syria to Yemen.

In December 2016, a Saudi court sentenced 15 people to death for spying for Iran, according to local media. A source told AFP then that most of them were members of the kingdom's Shiite minority.

Earlier in 2016, regional tensions spiked when Riyadh executed prominent Sasudi Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr, a driving force behind anti-government protests, for "terrorism".

The ultra-conservative kingdom has one of the world's highest rates of execution, with suspects convicted of terrorism, homicide, rape, armed robbery, homosexuality and drug trafficking facing the death penalty.

Rights experts have repeatedly raised concerns about the fairness of trials in the kingdom, governed under a strict form of Islamic law. 

The government says the death penalty is a deterrent for further crime.

Source: Agence France-Presse, June 7, 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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