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Trial by Fire - Did Texas execute an innocent man?

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The fire moved quickly through the house, a one-story wood-frame structure in a working-class neighborhood of Corsicana, in northeast Texas. Flames spread along the walls, bursting through doorways, blistering paint and tiles and furniture. Smoke pressed against the ceiling, then banked downward, seeping into each room and through crevices in the windows, staining the morning sky.
Buffie Barbee, who was eleven years old and lived two houses down, was playing in her back yard when she smelled the smoke. She ran inside and told her mother, Diane, and they hurried up the street; that’s when they saw the smoldering house and Cameron Todd Willingham standing on the front porch, wearing only a pair of jeans, his chest blackened with soot, his hair and eyelids singed. He was screaming, “My babies are burning up!” His children—Karmon and Kameron, who were one-year-old twin girls, and two-year-old Amber—were trapped inside.
Willingham told the Barbees to call the Fire Department, and while Dia…

Ghana referendum will abolish death sentence, weaken President's war powers

Ghanaians would soon be called upon to decide in a referendum on the three critical reviews of portions of the 1992 constitution which are abolition of the death penalty, declaration of war by the President and the swearing-in of the President before parliament by the chief Justice.

The proposed amendments will replace the death penalty with life imprisonment whilst the declaration of war by the President will be subjected to parliamentary approval within 72 hours with two-thirds majority endorsing and that the President, under certain circumstances, should be sworn-in anywhere not before Parliament but by a high court judge.

Mrs. Estelle Appiah, a member of the Constitution Review Implementation Committee (CRIC), said this at the Central Regional edition of CRIC's regional stakeholder briefing on the recommendations for amendments of the constitution held at Elmina.

Mrs. Appiah said the referendum would be held alongside the local and district assembly elections to cut down cost and at least 40 % of the total voting population was expected to take part out of which 75 % votes would validate a particular position.

The entrenched constitutional provisions required a referendum where the general public would have a say, while those made under the non-entrenched clauses only required representatives of the people in parliament to endorse.

Other recommendations for amendment under the entrenched clauses are that the Prerogative of Mercy in offences such as high treason, armed robbery, murder and narcotic related offences would no longer be a reserve for the President but be determined by an independent committee to reduce favouritism and abuse of that power on the part of the President.

The Director of Programmes of the National Commission for Civic Education, Mr. Samuel Akowah Boateng, said the review was to strengthen the constitution to be practicable and urged the public to go out in their numbers and vote during the referendum.

Some participants at the briefing raised concerns about certain aspects of the review such as the abolition of the death penalty and the declaration of war arguing that the abolition of the death penalty could lead to high armed robbery cases.
 
Source: VibeGhana.com, June 25, 2014

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