The fire report that caused public outrage and convinced many people that Willingham was innocent, which was instrumental in getting Ernest Ray Willis exonerated and released from Texas death row, is below:
Analysis of the Fire Investigation Methods and Procedures Used in the Criminal Arson Cases Against Ernest Ray Willis and Cameron Todd Willingham - http://alt.coxnewsweb.com/shared-blogs/austin/investigative/upload/2009/08/execution_based_on_bad_investi/D_Beyler%20FINAL%20REPORT%20082509.pdf
Governor Perry is campaigning for re-election. He acknowledges no wrongdoing regarding Willingham's execution. Please see the newscast below.
Please be aware that other likely innocent people are on death row. Consider Thomas Arthur who awaits execution in Alabama. His DNA test results were returned in July stating that Arthur was ruled out as contributor for any of the crime scene evidence tested. A judge sealed Arthur's test results, his lawyers were forbidden to disclose his innocence, and the Alabama D.A.'s office reported to Birmingham News in August that a death warrant would be sought for Arthur.
Mainstream media did not report Arthur's DNA results, although the media had closely followed his quest for post-conviction DNA testing for many years. All was silent when the test results came back with Arthur negative as Troy Wicker's murderer. The only exceptions to the silence that I found on the Internet was a report about Arthur's DNA test results from another blogger and myself. This writer had major problems publishing the news about Arthur's DNA test results. Care2 reported a cyberattack on September 1, which was the day I tried to send the news out via ecards. Gmail, which I use for prisoner advocacy, suddenly had an outage. I worked all night fighting cyberstalkers to get the article published about Arthur's DNA test results on August 31, and it finally made front page news at Care2 News Network. So far, Arthur still breathes. Arthur's daughter posted his DNA test results on her father's website. www.thomasarthurfightforlife.com/
See more about that drama at this link:
Should Thomas Arthur be Executed for Telling a Fibb?
Troy Davis is another condemned man who has substantial evidence of innocence that arrived after his conviction for the murder of Officer MacPhail, a Savannah, Georgia police officer. Despite the fact that seven of nine witnesses have recanted or contradicted their testimony against Davis in his murder case that had no forensic evidence, the system repeatedly refused to grant Davis a new trial. Millions of people over the world cheered this summer when the Supreme Court ordered that Troy Davis' case would be reviewed again by another Georgia federal judge who will decide whether Davis will finally have his "just day in a fair court" (Davis' words). However, the High Court determined that the judge can only consider new evidence that was not available to Davis' attorney initially. Davis' attorney for his appeals case had 70 other active cases at the time, and it is unlikely that his first state-appointed attorney had the opportunity to adequately defend him on a capital murder charge. The High Court further ruled that Davis' innocence must be proved by the new evidence he presents to the federal judge, despite the fact that Davis has no DNA evidence to present. Davis must do better than prove there is a reasonable doubt of his guilt like other defendants - he has to prove actual innocence. Otherwise, Davis could be executed like Cameron Todd Willingham was.
Just as the media is silent regarding Thomas Arthur's DNA test results indicating innocence, Troy Davis is under a gag order and not allowed to speak with the press.
Alternet recently published the stories of four other men who may be wrongly convicted, including some on death row. The article is at this link:
By Liliana Segura, AlterNet
October 26, 2009
4 Prisoners Facing Executions or Serving Extreme Jail Sentences Who Very Well May Be Innocent
Texas is gearing up to execute another prisoner tomorrow, a man named Reginald Blanton, who has a very strong innocence claim of his own. (Blaton was executed. Read about his case at this link.) http://www.alternet.org/rights/143417/innocent_until_proven_dead:_will_texas_execute_another_innocent_man/.)
Cruel and unusual though it might seem, for a person to be sentenced to die for a crime he or she did not commit is hardly a unique phenomenon in this country. In the past 35 years, no fewer than 138 people have been released from death row after proof of their innocence was discovered -- including eight this year alone.
Supreme Court Rules Inmates Have No Constitutional Right to DNA Testing Although Study by Expert Criminologists Shows Capital Punishment Is No Crime Deterrent
This is a link to Darrell Lomax's website: http://www.freedarrell.com/
Darrell wrote: My name is Darrell Lomax and I have been wrongly incarcerated on death row at San Quentin State prison for over 14 years. I was convicted even though:
I passed a gunshot residue test
I have an alibi
the eye witness said it wasn't me
the fingerprints on the gun weren't mine
and it was found in someone else's car
even though the footprint wasn't mine
My witnesses were never called
and I couldn't afford a lawyer so I had to share a public defender with the man who made a deal to testify against me.
When the situation with the public defender was discovered he was replaced by a former DA who made no effort to find the witnesses for my defense.
A second website for Darrell Lomax sponsored by the Canadian Coalition Against the Death Penalty is at this link: www.ccadp.org/darrelllomax.htm
Although this writer is against all executions, cases involving condemned mental patients are of particular interest to me as director of Assistance to the Incarcerated Mentally Ill. I wrote about Jeff Wood in an article that made front page at OpEdNews on the day Jeff was scheduled for execution in 2008, and the article at the link below, which was carried in my lineup of articles at http://NowPublic.com/duo - The NowPublic article received some interesting comments, including some from persons who represented themselves as being a relative of David Reneau, the shooter in the murder for which Jeff faces execution, and a member of Jeff's family. See the article and comments at this link:
Scheduled for Texas Execution: Jeff Wood, a Mentally Challenged Young Man
Petition: Save Jeff Wood from the Executioner http://www.thepetitionsite.com/2/save-jeff-wood-from-the-executioner
Petition to Save Andre Thomas and Stop Executing Mental Patients
There are many more inmates who were excessively sentenced due to mandatory sentencing laws and three-strikes laws (that disallow judges using their own discretion). Consider the case of Jeremy Smith. He is a young man who was schizophrenic from childhood. He allegedly hit another mental patient in his mental hospital, and was induced to sign a plea bargain for EIGHT YEARS imprisonment in California, a state that its governor reports is practically breaking under the weight of its prison costs. While in prison, he allegedly made "terrorist threats" to a guard and was further charged for that, which may substantially lengthen his sentence. California is paying at least $70,000 per year to punish the sick young man in a solitary confinement prison hole 23 hours per day. Gov. Schwarzenegger's efforts to effect prison reform are reportedly hampered by members of the state legislature.
California had to send its senior citizens IOU's rather than live checks this year, but no cost is spared to imprison mental patients like Jeremy who do not deserve to be punished for having a disability. No one can be punished or rehabilitated into a state of good mental health. See Jeremy's petition below:
Justice 4 Jeremy Petition - Lifelong schizophrenic in CA prison hole - http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/JusticeForJeremy
Wrongful convictions will undoubtedly continue to happen, because much can go wrong with evidence and witnesses between the time a defendant is arrested and brought to trial, sometimes years later. However, wrongful convictions can be reduced by increasing the amount of money states spend for public defenders. Saving innocent people from prison or execution is not only humane and just, it also saves taxpayers a good deal of money in an economy where every dollar counts. It is more financially prudent to increase spending for indigent defense to accomplish real justice than to have to pay over $50,000 per year per innocent inmate who is sentenced to many years in prison due to inadequate representation. Wrongful convictions are substantially more expensive than the cost for upgrading public defenders' budgets.
The USDOJ has made several grants recently to curtail wrongful convictions and to stop prisons' revolving door for mentally dysfunctional people. Regarding the shocking propensity courts have to ignore evidence of innocence that arrives after conviction, Attorney General Holder made it clear that real justice must take precedence over procedure.
Excessive sentencing is also unnecessarily cruel and expensive. Yet, in Mississippi, two sisters were given life sentences for the theft of $11, and they, too, have a strong case for innocence - the Scott Sisters. Many people believe Gladys and Jamie Scott were wrongly convicted just as they assert, but even if they are guilty, life sentences for $11 with no one physically harmed seems to be excessive sentencing. They have already been imprisoned for around 15 years. Mississippi taxpayers are sentenced right along with the women, because taxpayers must foot the bill.
The petition for the Scott Sisters is at the link below:
Gladys and Jamie Scott Wrongful Conviction Case Petition
The website for the Scott Sisters is: Free the Scott Sisters
There is also a blogspot for the Scott Sisters called FREE JAMIE AND GLADYS SCOTT.
DEATH TO THE DEATH PENALTY!
Objections to the death penalty include:
~ It targets the poor
~ It is racist
~ It kills the innocent
~ It is barbaric
~ It does not deter crime
~ It is expensive (Taxpayers pay $90,000 per year per condemned inmate over and above incarceration costs for inmates in maximum security prisons, according to the Death Penalty Information Center)
Thou shalt not kill. ~ Exodus 20:13; Deuteronomy 5:17
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
Assistance to the Incarcerated Mentally Ill
Donations are appreciated to continue to fight the good fight of faith for justice and human rights for prisoners in obedience to Hebrews 13:3 and Matthew 25 at http://FreeSpeakBlog.blogspot.com
Thank you for your interest in justice and human rights for prisoners.