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…

USA: Pete Buttigieg Wants to Eliminate Death Penalty, Legalize Weed

Pete Buttigieg
As out presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg continues to struggle with black voters, his campaign released a plan to “dismantle racist structures and systems.” That includes eliminating the death penalty and legalizing marijuana.

The New York Times reports that Buttigieg faces a difficult path to the Democratic presidential nomination if he can’t gain traction with black voters. The plan comes while Buttigieg deals with a racially sensitive test of leadership as mayor of South Bend, Ind.

In addition to changes to capital punishment and marijuana laws, Buttgieg also wants to limit use solitary confinement in prisons and eliminate mandatory minimum sentencing.

The plan also says he will be tightening the legal standard for police to use deadly force; creating a federal database of officers fired from police departments; and persuading states to disclose more data on law enforcment to see a correlation with race.

A police-involved shooting in his hometown turned the spotlight on Buttigieg’s history with race relations. Eric Logan, a 54-year-old black man, died after South Bend Sgt. Ryan O'Neill shot him. O’Neill has said Logan came toward him with a knife, but the officer’s body camera was off at the time.

Buttigieg addressed the issue with contrition at the 1st Democratic presidential debate.

“I'm not allowed to take sides until the investigation comes back,” Buttigieg said. “The officer said he was attacked with a knife, but he didn't have his body camera on. It's a mess. And we're hurting.”

Then-opponent Eric Swalwell challenged Buttigieg at the time and said the mayor needed to fire his police chief. Buttigieg hasn’t done so, but since he years ago fired a black police chief, that’s only amplified tension with the black community.

Christine Pelosi, a Democratic National Committee member, told the Times that Buttigieg appears to have evolved on issues of race, but could still have a tough time.

“It is one thing to get credit for evolution and change but it is quite another to be there viscerally,” Pelosi said.

Many voters were exposed to Buttigieg for the 1st time at the debate, the Times notes. So Buttigieg has continued to work through the public ordeal just as national attention turns toward the presidential contest.

Buttigieg has, however, enjoyed continued fundraising success, raising a stunning $24.8 million in the 2nd quarter. That ultimately turned out to be more money than was raised by any other Democratic candidate.

Source: advocate.com, Staff, July 11, 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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