Did Texas Execute an Innocent Man?

Did Texas Execute an Innocent Man? Death by Fire on PBS' Frontline

“Death by Fire,” a very compelling documentary by PBS’ “Frontline” about wrongly convicted and executed Texas death row prisoner Cameron Todd Willingham. He was sentenced to death for killing his three children by arson, but as the program made clear once again, junk science and poor fire investigation methodology resulted in Willingham’s wrongful conviction. The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and The Innocence Project notes that evidence released in recent years, beginning before Todd Willingham was executed in 2004, lead to the “inescapable conclusion that Willingham did not set the fire for which he was executed.”

Oregonian Letter to Editor: Abolish Oregon's Death Penalty

Oregonian Letter to Editor: Abolish Oregon's Death Penalty

Regarding "Hard choices: Oregon's money crisis" (Sept. 29): In a time of extreme budget crisis within the state of Oregon and the country as a whole, simple ways to reduce budgetary deficits while continuing to provide the citizenry with necessary social services at an adequate level seem all the more important. One very simple way to accomplish this goal, as well as ensure that we have a criminal justice system for all Oregonians, is to abolish Oregon's capital punishment statute.

David Garland: Five Myths about the Death Penalty

On September 5, 2010, David Garland, professor of law and sociology at New York University wrote an oped article that appeared in the Oregonian on September 5, 2010. His book Peculiar Institution: America’s Death Penalty in an Age of Abolition is forthcoming this fall. The article centers around 5 points:

1. The United States is a death-penalty nation. In fact this country barely uses the death penalty.

Views from Around the World

Views from Around the World

From: THE WEEK MAGAZINE (commentary from newspapers around the world) July 2-9, 2010 edition.

Gerd Bruggemann….commentator for Neue Zurcher Zeitung, in Switzerland wrote……….

Death Penalty debate flares after firing squad execution

firing squad execution
Utah: The state has banned the method, saying it overshadows the crime and victim Nicholas Riccardi: McClatchy Tribune Commentary submitted by Jim Pavis, OADP member The following was excerpted from the Oregonian article (June 19, 2010 – A4):

Retiring Justice John Paul Stevens Pleas for Abolition of the Death Penalty

Retiring Justice John Paul Stevens Pleas for Abolition of the Death Penalty

Commentary by Ron Steiner OADP Outreach Chair -- Speaking at a large convention of judges and lawyers, in Columbus, Ohio, last night retiring Supreme Count Justice John Paul Stevens made a direct and emotional plea to abolish the death penalty. Among his comments before the assembled legal veterans, Stevens said, “The risk of an incorrect decision has increased”. Responding to a question about his 2008 assertion that the death penalty should be abolished, he said that “because of advances in DNA testing”, which have led to the freeing of some innocent convicts, “we’re more aware of the risk than we might have been before.”

Innocents Convicted of Murder in Oregon

Innocents Convicted of Murder in Oregon

Oregon has come perilously close to sentencing people to death for crimes they did not commit. Five people have been convicted of murder, or aggravated murder, and given sentences ranging from twenty years in prison to life without the possibility of parole. Death penalty supporters insist that the system in Oregon has made no mistakes because no death sentenced person has been exonerated. It is only through pure luck that this has not happened. Oregon does not need the death penalty – it is too risky and cannot be undone.

Seattle PI: Cost of Death Penalty are Punishing the Innocent

Commentary by By Brendan Williams -- Costs of Death Penalty are Punishing the Innocent. We simply cannot keep punishing the innocent, including actual crime victims, by keeping a death penalty we cannot afford.

New York Times: Innocent but Dead

There is a long and remarkable article in the current New Yorker about a man who was executed in Texas in 2004 for deliberately setting a fire that killed his three small children. Rigorous scientific analysis has since shown that there was no evidence that the fire in a one-story, wood frame house in Corsicana was the result of arson, as the authorities had alleged. In other words, it was an accident. No crime had occurred. Cameron Todd Willingham, who refused to accept a guilty plea that would have spared his life, and who insisted until his last painful breath that he was innocent, had in fact been telling the truth all along.

Judges’ Dissents for Death Row Inmates Are Rising

By JOHN SCHWARTZ -- It took just 80 words for a federal appeals court to deny Kevin Cooper’s most recent plea to avoid execution. But attached to that order was a forceful 101-page dissent by a judge, all but pleading to spare Mr. Cooper’s life. “The State of California may be about to execute an innocent man,” it began. The judge who wrote the dissent, William A. Fletcher of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, argued that the police and prosecutors had withheld and tampered with evidence in the case for decades; Judge Fletcher even accused the district court of having sabotaged the case.



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