Sunday, December 27, 2009

Trial by Fire: Did Texas execute an innocent man?

Another one of David Brooks's recommended essays of the year, David Grann's "Trial by Fire" is a masterful piece of journalism about how law failed Cameron Todd Willingham, who was most likely wrongfully executed for arson in the fire that killed his three daughters.

In Brooks's words, "Grann painstakingly describes how bogus science may have swayed the system to kill an innocent man, but at the core of the piece there are the complex relationships that grew up around a man convicted of burning his children. If you can still support the death penalty after reading this piece, you have stronger convictions than I do."


Rahul said...

The essay on Cameron Todd Willingham is a must-read. When the system makes a mistake, it always closes ranks, and it is especially chilling when it does so even when the implication is state-sponsored murder.

There is more: Gov. Rick Perry of Texas has actively stymied any investigation into the process by which both the Texas prison board and he made the decision not to commute the sentence, even despite mounting evidence to the contrary. There are a lot of <a href=">good links</a> here about the cover-up. Sadly, especially in a state like Texas, the political incentives are in favor of aggressive support of the death penalty. BTW, I highly recommend watching Errol Morris' brilliant documentary, The Thin Blue Line, of one instance of a miscarriage of justice in Texas and how the police conspired to cover up their misdeeds.

dudleysharp said...

The Innocence Scam: The Anti Death Penalty Movement
Dudley Sharp, contact info below

"Cameron Todd Willingham: Another Media Meltdown", A Collection of Articles

"The Innocent Executed: Deception & Death Penalty Opponents"

"The Exonerated: Are Any Actually Innocent?"

"Sister Helen Prejean & the death penalty: A Critical Review"

"At the Death House Door" Can Rev. Carroll Pickett be trusted?"

"The Death Penalty: More Protection for Innocents"

The 130 (now 139) death row "innocents" scam

23 recent deterrence studies finding for deterrence, Criminal Justice Legal Foundation,

"Deterrence and the Death Penalty: A Reply to Radelet and Lacock"

"Death Penalty, Deterrence & Murder Rates: Let's be clear"

Sincerely, Dudley Sharp
e-mail, 713-622-5491,
Houston, Texas

Mr. Sharp has appeared on ABC, BBC, CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, FOX, NBC, NPR, PBS , VOA and many other TV and radio networks, on such programs as Nightline, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, The O'Reilly Factor, etc., has been quoted in newspapers throughout the world and is a published author.

A former opponent of capital punishment, he has written and granted interviews about, testified on and debated the subject of the death penalty, extensively and internationally.

dudleysharp said...


Rebuttal: "Trial by Fire: Did Texas execute an innocent man?", by David Grann, The New Yorker
Dudley Sharp