Did Texas execute an innocent man? Film revisits a haunting question.

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…

Rajasthan court hands out death penalty to man for rape and murder of five-year-old girl

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Jaipur: A court in Rajasthan's Alwar district on Wednesday awarded death penalty to a man for raping and killing a five-year-old girl in 2015 by smashing her face with a stone and mutilating her private parts, terming the crime "rarest of rare".

Special judge of POCSO court, Ajay Kumar Sharma, convicted the accused, Rajkumar alias Dharmendra Yadav, a resident of Rewali in Behror town, for raping and brutally killing the minor girl, special public prosecutor Vinod Kumar Sharma told PTI.

The court convicted Rajkumar under Section 302 (murder) and 363 (kidnapping) and also sentenced him to imprisonment till last breath under Section 376 (rape), he said.

The court termed the case a "rarest of rare" crime that deserved maximum punishment, he added.

In February 2015, Rajkumar had lured the girl to an abandoned building on the pretext of for giving her a candy and raped her, Sharma said.

He then smashed her face with a heavy stone and cut her private parts using a sharp-edged tool. A case was registered against Rajkumar at Behror police station, he said.

Source: PTI, Staff, June 12, 2019

Acid attack: HC upholds man's conviction, but commutes death penalty

The Bombay High Court Wednesday upheld the conviction of a 25-year-old man in the 2013 Preeti Rathi acid attack case, but commuted his death penalty to life imprisonment.

A division bench of justices B P Dharmadhikari and P D Naik partly allowed the appeal filed by convict Ankur Panwar, challenging the death penalty awarded to him by a special court in 2015.

This was the first instance of death penalty being awarded by a court in the country in a case of acid attack.

"The conviction under IPC Sections 302 (murder) and 326 (b) (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by use of acid) is upheld. The death sentence is commuted to life imprisonment," the bench said.

Rathi, a 23-year-old nurse, who was to join the Navy hospital in Mumbai, died after an acid attack in May 2013 by her stalker Panwar.

On May 2, 2013, as Rathi got off the train from Delhi at the Bandra Terminus here, Panwar threw acid on her face.

Rathi lost her vision and received major injuries. She spent a month in hospitals, and on June 1 that year, she died of multiple organ failure at Bombay Hospital here.

Source: PTI, Staff, June 12, 2019

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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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