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Thread: Texas judge to examine if executed man was innocent

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    Texas judge to examine if executed man was innocent

    AUSTIN, Texas — A Texas judge will consider this week whether a man the state executed in 2004 for killing his three toddlers in a house fire was actually innocent of the crimes.


    If the court exonerates Cameron Todd Willingham he will be the first person officially declared innocent after being executed in the modern era of US capital punishment.


    "This is a watershed case that may break some new ground," said Richard Dieter, director of the Death Penalty Information Center.
    This, of course, is the infamous case where Governor Rick Perry replaced the Forensic Science Board, as they were about to investigate the case, with 3 political appointees, who then shut down the investigation.

    This is also why I am against the death penalty. If it were infallible, I would be the first to volunteer to "throw the switch" on the condemned. But the death penalty is not worth the state-sanctioned murder of innocent people. Not even if it were only one. I don't support murder, legal or otherwise, and that is exactly what this execution was - A murder.

    Article is here.
    Last edited by danarhea; 10-05-10 at 12:30 AM.
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    Re: Texas judge to examine if executed man was innocent

    Good intentioned and all, but this just seems a redundant waste of resources.
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    Re: Texas judge to examine if executed man was innocent

    Quote Originally Posted by spud_meister View Post
    Good intentioned and all, but this just seems a redundant waste of resources.
    All it takes is a single wrongful execution to make the state guilty of murder. This might not seem like a huge issue to you as Australia has abolished the death penalty but to most people who oppose the death penalty in America it is a matter of shutting down an outdated practice.
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    Re: Texas judge to examine if executed man was innocent

    Innocent people will always slip through the cracks and get convicted. It doesn't matter whether we have the death penalty or not, because innocent people will still have their lives and their reputations ruined and many of them will die in jail before they can be exonerated. A lot more people would die if we didn't have a justice system at all.

    The best thing we can do is improve the process so that fewer mistakes get made, and prevent the disgusting politicization of the process that prevents proper investigations to occur.

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    Re: Texas judge to examine if executed man was innocent

    Quote Originally Posted by Hatuey View Post
    All it takes is a single wrongful execution to make the state guilty of murder.
    Hell of a lot more innocent people die in war. People are always going to die, and there's nothing we can do about it. You can't make an omelette without cracking eggs, and you can't make a society without cracking skulls.

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    Re: Texas judge to examine if executed man was innocent

    Quote Originally Posted by Korimyr the Rat View Post
    Innocent people will always slip through the cracks and get convicted. It doesn't matter whether we have the death penalty or not, because innocent people will still have their lives and their reputations ruined and many of them will die in jail before they can be exonerated. A lot more people would die if we didn't have a justice system at all.

    The best thing we can do is improve the process so that fewer mistakes get made, and prevent the disgusting politicization of the process that prevents proper investigations to occur.
    Yes, but a person who's been in jail for 20 years, and is found innocent still has a chance to live, while an executed person doesn't have that chance. IMO, it's not worth the risk of killing just one innocent person to keep the death penalty going.
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    Re: Texas judge to examine if executed man was innocent

    Quote Originally Posted by danarhea View Post
    This, of course, is the infamous case where Governor Rick Perry replaced the Forensic Science Board, as they were about to investigate the case, with 3 political appointees, who then shut down the investigation.

    This is also why I am against the death penalty. If it were infallible, I would be the first to volunteer to "throw the switch" on the condemned. But the death penalty is not worth the state-sanctioned murder of innocent people. Not even if it were only one. I don't support murder, legal or otherwise, and that is exactly what this execution was - A murder.

    Article is here.
    I remember this case very well it was a huge topic of conversation on the Radio at the time. I was saying back then when the story first came out that Perry seemed to making a decision based on political expedience rather than Justice.

    I disagree with this statement from the story:
    "This is a watershed case that may break some new ground," said Richard Dieter, director of the Death Penalty Information Center.
    I see this as a chance to show that we have a system where Justice will win out in the end be corrected when found to be less than JUST to anyone is altered for the better to avoid the use of the ultimate power of any elected office for political gain under some serious penalty.

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    Re: Texas judge to examine if executed man was innocent

    Quote Originally Posted by danarhea View Post
    This, of course, is the infamous case where Governor Rick Perry replaced the Forensic Science Board, as they were about to investigate the case, with 3 political appointees, who then shut down the investigation.

    This is also why I am against the death penalty. If it were infallible, I would be the first to volunteer to "throw the switch" on the condemned. But the death penalty is not worth the state-sanctioned murder of innocent people. Not even if it were only one. I don't support murder, legal or otherwise, and that is exactly what this execution was - A murder.

    Article is here.
    If he was found innocent, does that not mean that Perry and the FSB of the time at best are guilty of manslaughter and at worst 1st degree murder? Or has Perry given himself and them amnesty?
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    Re: Texas judge to examine if executed man was innocent

    Quote Originally Posted by Korimyr the Rat View Post
    Hell of a lot more innocent people die in war. People are always going to die, and there's nothing we can do about it. You can't make an omelette without cracking eggs, and you can't make a society without cracking skulls.
    Korimyr, don't take this as an insult as you're one of the few posters here who I actually have some sort of respect for, but that to me seems a ridiculous comparison. You don't go to war and purposely kill civilians. They're casualties of war and yes, they make the state just as complicit in the deaths of innocent people but I find intent plays a crucial role. I guess what I'm trying to say I see your argument as essentially saying 'all loss of innocent human life is equal and all has the same room for error'. I strongly disagree with that view. Likewise, you could argue that the death penalty was not designed to destroy innocent people but I think the fact that we have far more control over the death penalty than over who may die during a war makes a huge difference.
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    Re: Texas judge to examine if executed man was innocent

    Quote Originally Posted by Your Star View Post
    Yes, but a person who's been in jail for 20 years, and is found innocent still has a chance to live, while an executed person doesn't have that chance. IMO, it's not worth the risk of killing just one innocent person to keep the death penalty going.
    What about the innocent person who is sentenced to prison for 20 years... and dies before he makes it to 5? He's just as innocent and just as dead as the man wrongly executed. Or the man who serves his full 20 year term before he's exonerated-- his life and his reputation can never be restored to what they were before the State made an error. That's really the basis of my argument: no matter what the State's policies are, the one thing they have in common is that the State's mistakes can never be undone. We have to do the best we can, with the understanding that mistakes will be made and we will have to live with them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hatuey View Post
    You don't go to war and purposely kill civilians. They're casualties of war and yes, they make the state just as complicit in the deaths of innocent people but I find intent plays a crucial role.
    I think you and I have different understandings of "intent". From my perspective, if you know that an action has certain consequences, and you perform that action anyway, you are responsible for those consequences-- the blood is on your hands whether you wanted it there or not. I consider it an aspect of moral maturity to recognize that all actions have certain negative consequences, and that being a moral person means having to make decisions knowing that there will be negative consequences and having to live with those consequences.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hatuey View Post
    I guess what I'm trying to say I see your argument as essentially saying 'all loss of innocent human life is equal and all has the same room for error'. I strongly disagree with that view. Likewise, you could argue that the death penalty was not designed to destroy innocent people but I think the fact that we have far more control over the death penalty than over who may die during a war makes a huge difference.
    We know that innocent people will die regardless. Everyone dies. Abolishing the death penalty will cause innocent people to die-- just different innocent people than the ones the death penalty claims. It is all a matter of whose blood we would rather have on our hands and how much.

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