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Thread: Expert says fire for which man was executed was not arson

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    Re: Expert says fire for which man was executed was not arson

    I remember this case. Tragic doesn't even begin to cover what happened. I've always believed this man was innocent and therefore wrongly executed. I am against the death penalty when there is ANY doubt of guilt, and although nothing can bring back Mr. Willingham, I hope his family can be compensated such that it will force changes that ensure such a miscarriage of justice never, ever occurs again.




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    Re: Expert says fire for which man was executed was not arson

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    He shouldn't have to find evidence proving his innocence. The burden of proof is on the prosecution, and these claims cast reasonable doubt on the veracity of the prosecution's claims.
    It would seem as if the prosecution obviously did present an amount of said evidence to convince the minds of 12 jurors and the appeal court judges that he was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. To seriously question their opinion, with them knowing the full details of the case, with our only information being a newspaper, seems foolish.
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    Re: Expert says fire for which man was executed was not arson

    Quote Originally Posted by apdst View Post
    But, at the same time, there's a big difference between reading a report and looking at the actual fire scene.
    Well, let's look at the key findings of this report, one at a time:

    that investigators failed to examine all of the electrical outlets and appliances in the Willinghams' house in the small Texas town of Corsicana,
    Whether or not they investigated it will be mentioned in the police report. You don't need to recreate the fire scene to find out if they investigated it.

    did not consider other potential causes for the fire,
    The nature of the fire will be mentioned in the police report. It should be determinable from this report if there is any plausible way that the fire could have started other than arson.

    came to conclusions that contradicted witnesses at the scene,
    Whether or not they came to conclusions that contradicted witnesses is possible by comparing the police report to the court log. You don't need to recreate the fire scene to find out if their conclusions contradicted witnesses.

    and wrongly concluded Willingham's injuries could not have been caused as he said they were.
    Whether or not his injuries could have been caused as he said they were should be possible to determine from reading the suspect's testimony and comparing it with photographs. You don't need to recreate the fire scene to find out if their conclusions were invalid.

    The state fire marshal on the case, Beyler concluded in his report, had "limited understanding" of fire science. The fire marshal "seems to be wholly without any realistic understanding of fires and how fire injuries are created," he wrote.
    Whether or not the state fire marshal had any understanding of fire science should be possible to determine from his statements on the case. You don't need to recreate the fire scene to determine if the state fire marshal had any understanding of the case.
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    Re: Expert says fire for which man was executed was not arson

    Quote Originally Posted by Agnapostate View Post
    While there are compelling reasons for at least minimizing application of the death penalty, this simply doesn't incorporate any facet of cost/benefit analysis, and doesn't appreciate the fact that anecdotal incidents cannot invalidate a general policy.
    FACT: it cost taxpayers more to kill than to keep in jail for life. Look it up.
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    Re: Expert says fire for which man was executed was not arson

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    Well, let's look at the key findings of this report, one at a time:



    Whether or not they investigated it will be mentioned in the police report. You don't need to recreate the fire scene to find out if they investigated it.



    The nature of the fire will be mentioned in the police report. It should be determinable from this report if there is any plausible way that the fire could have started other than arson.



    Whether or not they came to conclusions that contradicted witnesses is possible by comparing the police report to the court log. You don't need to recreate the fire scene to find out if their conclusions contradicted witnesses.



    Whether or not his injuries could have been caused as he said they were should be possible to determine from reading the suspect's testimony and comparing it with photographs. You don't need to recreate the fire scene to find out if their conclusions were invalid.



    Whether or not the state fire marshal had any understanding of fire science should be possible to determine from his statements on the case. You don't need to recreate the fire scene to determine if the state fire marshal had any understanding of the case.
    This is just another report, from another person. I'm just not seeing more validity than the original report.
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    Re: Expert says fire for which man was executed was not arson

    Quote Originally Posted by Agnapostate View Post
    While there are compelling reasons for at least minimizing application of the death penalty, this simply doesn't incorporate any facet of cost/benefit analysis, and doesn't appreciate the fact that anecdotal incidents cannot invalidate a general policy.
    How many innocent people do you believe have to be executed before the general policy should be called into question?
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    Re: Expert says fire for which man was executed was not arson

    Quote Originally Posted by Middleground View Post
    FACT: it cost taxpayers more to kill than to keep in jail for life. Look it up.
    That's why they should have executed him 12 years earlier.
    Quote Originally Posted by Top Cat View Post
    At least Bill saved his transgressions for grown women. Not suggesting what he did was OK. But he didn't chase 14 year olds.

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    Re: Expert says fire for which man was executed was not arson

    Quote Originally Posted by SouthernDemocrat View Post
    How many innocent people do you believe have to be executed before the general policy should be called into question?
    By that logic, let's just stop putting people in prison, because a few of them might be innocent.
    Quote Originally Posted by Top Cat View Post
    At least Bill saved his transgressions for grown women. Not suggesting what he did was OK. But he didn't chase 14 year olds.

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    Re: Expert says fire for which man was executed was not arson

    Quote Originally Posted by apdst View Post
    It doesn't work that way with appeals, does it? Isn't the burden of proof, at that point, actually on the defendent, even if it's technically not supposed to be?
    The appeals process is when the defendant gets a chance to argue that the law was misapplied at trial. There's no argument of facts unless a new trial is ordered at the appellate level. I guess in a sense you are correct insofar as the burden being shifted, but the defendant can't argue about the evidence unless they are arguing about it having been wrongfully excluded at trial.

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    Re: Expert says fire for which man was executed was not arson

    Quote Originally Posted by apdst View Post
    That's why they should have executed him 12 years earlier.
    So you don't believe in the concept of due process? Straight from the jury to the execution chamber?
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