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  1. #61
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    I dont think this proves Willinghams innocence, but with this evidence I have no doubt he would not have been given the death sentence and would have been alive today. The evidence coming up now would maybe get him a new trial. His actions were very odd and people have been found guilty on less, but he would at worst be in prison for life with these witnesses and evidence.

    There will always be this kind of possibility with the death penalty, Im still pro-DP, but its obvious fire science and evidence is flawed and it shouldnt be used to get a death sentence.

  2. #62
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    That's one sad, sad tale.

    For the person who said that the two expert's with opposite opinions negate each other.. erm, one expert clearly reached his opinion based on mountains of scientific evidence where the original 'expert' seemed to reach his on gut feeling.

    How could one investigator find such a higher % of arsons than the average? Sounds like he wasn't big on doing his job and reached his conclusions with much less work put into the case.

    Kinda like a police detective who decides the perp must be a black youth without taking into account evidence past what he can see with the naked eye.

  3. #63
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    Was Cameron Todd Willingham wrongfully executed?

    Please merge if there is a thread out there on this-I could not find it. From what I am getting from this article, the Innocence Project believes that Willingham was convicted based on what is now faulty evidence testing regarding arson....from the statements of his own defense attorney and jurors who convicted him, he was guilty of leaving his babies to burn to death in his home intentionally. He moved his car when the house became engulfed, but never made a move to get his children out of the home. Further, he made statements to his fire investigators about deliberately pouring cologne that his children liked onto the floor in a trail to the bathroom where their bodies were found. AND he was upset that his dartboard had either been burned in the fire or stolen....not so much upset on the death of his kids.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091202/...xecution_arson

    So he might have received something other than the death penalty if it was not proved he committed arson in the fire-hmmmm, I wonder if this really rises to the level of convicting an INNOCENT man????
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  4. #64
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    This article, from an extremely reputable reporter, makes a compelling case that Willingham was indeed innocent.

    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2...7fa_fact_grann

  5. #65
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    this really jumps out to me in regards to hiring their own expert to dispute the arson theory:

    "We hired one ... and he said: 'Yep. It's arson,'" Martin said. "It was really very, very clear what happened in the house. Everybody who saw it, of course, reached the same conclusion."

    http://www.sltrib.com/news/ci_13907397
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  6. #66
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    Thank you for the article, but I do not believe the NYT article shows that Willingham was innocent-I think it shows that he might have had reasonable doubt regarding the evidence of arson. The space heater in the children's room was in the off position when found correct? I did not see any other discussion regarding the other space heaters, but I do not remember discussion that there was a space heater in the hallway. I saw that everyone agreed that there was evidence of mineral spirits at the front doorway, but if the fire was accidentally a result of the kerosene lamp overturning, wouldn't there have been evidence of a carbon based accelerant on the floor in the hallway as well?

    With current knowledge, the arson question cannot be definitively answered according to the people the Hurst report and the original report were presented to. BUT I think that is a leap to stating he was innocent. Would he have been convicted if there had been testimony to the contrary in his original trial? I dont know-if he had been would we be discussing the death of an innocent man?
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  7. #67
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    Ah-ha, thats it. Nobody knows what caused the fire so you can't definitely Rule Out arson; therefore all is well. Texas executed a man who's innocence couldn't be absolutly proven.

    When I've been on jury duty, the judge has instructed us that the defendant's guilt "beyond a reasonable doubt" must be established. Apparently a lot of folks are willing to accept a lower standard on Death Penalty cases.

    The real problem with Death Penalty cases is that the crimes are generally Horrific and jurrors are willing to accept a lower standard of guilt. Death Penalty cases and other very horrific crimes are just more prone to situations where the truely innocent are convicted.

    Sure, the primary responsibility lies with the jurrors, but they are just ordinary folks. The ultimate responsibility lies with the judges and, in Death Penalty cases, the Governors. They are in a tough possition. Sometimes an "ethically correct" decision can cost them their jobs while a decision that violates their oath of office, can "make" their careers. It all comes down to intergrity an accountability.

    I know that a lot of us are concerned that "excessive" regard for the occasional innocent who might be convicted makes it easier for the guilty to "get away with it" but I doubt most of us really want to abandon 1000 years of Anglo Saxon legal tradition and accept "rough justices". A more reasonable approach is a proffesional, honest Law Enforcement and Judicial system with the necessary resouces, including scientific advances. These cost money but I'm willing to pay.

  8. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by kemo View Post
    Ah-ha, thats it. Nobody knows what caused the fire so you can't definitely Rule Out arson; therefore all is well. Texas executed a man who's innocence couldn't be absolutly proven.

    When I've been on jury duty, the judge has instructed us that the defendant's guilt "beyond a reasonable doubt" must be established. Apparently a lot of folks are willing to accept a lower standard on Death Penalty cases.

    The real problem with Death Penalty cases is that the crimes are generally Horrific and jurrors are willing to accept a lower standard of guilt. Death Penalty cases and other very horrific crimes are just more prone to situations where the truely innocent are convicted.

    Sure, the primary responsibility lies with the jurrors, but they are just ordinary folks. The ultimate responsibility lies with the judges and, in Death Penalty cases, the Governors. They are in a tough possition. Sometimes an "ethically correct" decision can cost them their jobs while a decision that violates their oath of office, can "make" their careers. It all comes down to intergrity an accountability.

    I know that a lot of us are concerned that "excessive" regard for the occasional innocent who might be convicted makes it easier for the guilty to "get away with it" but I doubt most of us really want to abandon 1000 years of Anglo Saxon legal tradition and accept "rough justices". A more reasonable approach is a proffesional, honest Law Enforcement and Judicial system with the necessary resouces, including scientific advances. These cost money but I'm willing to pay.
    BBM. You misunderstood my post I think if this was directed at me-yes there is reasonable doubt regarding the arson charge but I do not believe that any of the articles "prove" he is innocent.

    I did not address the DP at all.

    I am one of those who struggles with the Death Penalty...I work very hard to believe that people are too flawed to be imposing the ultimate penalty on one another. Then there are cases that come along that challenge my ability to maintain that view point....

    I would love to see a study done on reasonable doubt to be honest-on what it actually means to each jury. Because it is not black and white imo-does a preponderance of the evidence point to a certain guilt or innocence? I believe that this is how many vote in the end...
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  9. #69
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    As the article states, many of the jurors said they would still vote the same way and not JUST because it was ruled arson. His character was Very sketchy to say the least after the "accident/crime" whichever you prefer to think of it as.
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  10. #70
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    Hey peeps, just wanted to let you know there is already a thread about this.

    http://websleuths.com/forums/showthr...hlight=cameron


  11. #71
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    I just watched a movie on netflix about this.....so sad.

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/death-by-fire/

    This was the movie

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  12. #72
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    The problem with Willingham's conviction wasn't the EVIDENCE admitted at the trial; it was the INTERPRETATION of that evidence. Laymen jurors have no idea if certain signs at the scene of a fire are evidence that an accordant was used. They must trust in the credibility of the EXPERT. Evidentially, the SCIENCE of arson investigation had made some serious advances since Willingham's conviction.
    I would certainly be impressed by a folksy, confident type who said that he had investigated over 1500 fires and had a pretty good sense of when an accelerant was used, but I would be a lot more impressed by someone who had participated in studies of fires that compared real fires with and without accelerants and could refer to the results of these studies to back up his opinions.

  13. #73
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    http://www.cnn.com/2011/POLITICS/09/...tml?hpt=hp_bn5

    Texas commission signals halt to investigation of 2004 execution
    By Matt Smith, CNN
    September 9, 2011 7:35 p.m. EDT

    Austin, Texas (CNN) -- An attorney general's opinion effectively halts a Texas state commission's investigation into allegations that flawed science led to a man's 2004 execution, according to a draft report released Friday.

    The opinion prevents the Texas Forensic Science Commission "from proceeding with further investigation" into the case of Cameron Todd Willingham or issuing any conclusions about the conduct of arson investigators in the case, the draft states. But members put off final adoption of the report until October to review recommendations for state officials in future cases, and Willingham's advocates say they still hope to persuade the commission to move ahead.

    "I look forward to directing the commission to information that demonstrates that they do indeed have jurisdiction," said Stephen Saloom of the Innocence Project, which brought Willingham's case before the commission....


    WTF? The crime lab can't keep working on this? Obviously, IMO, the state of Texas doesn't want the truth to come out.

  14. #74
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    They are just never wrong. Nor do they care.
    This justice system is so one-sided on so many levels...

  15. #75
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    They Have a Word for This

    Quote Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
    http://www.cnn.com/2011/POLITICS/09/...tml?hpt=hp_bn5

    Texas commission signals halt to investigation of 2004 execution
    By Matt Smith, CNN
    September 9, 2011 7:35 p.m. EDT

    Austin, Texas (CNN) -- An attorney general's opinion effectively halts a Texas state commission's investigation into allegations that flawed science led to a man's 2004 execution, according to a draft report released Friday.

    The opinion prevents the Texas Forensic Science Commission "from proceeding with further investigation" into the case of Cameron Todd Willingham or issuing any conclusions about the conduct of arson investigators in the case, the draft states. But members put off final adoption of the report until October to review recommendations for state officials in future cases, and Willingham's advocates say they still hope to persuade the commission to move ahead.

    "I look forward to directing the commission to information that demonstrates that they do indeed have jurisdiction," said Stephen Saloom of the Innocence Project, which brought Willingham's case before the commission....

    WTF? The crime lab can't keep working on this? Obviously, IMO, the state of Texas doesn't want the truth to come out.
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