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People of Texas execute an innocent man because he wouldn’t cut a deal with prosecutors

Cameron_Todd_Willingham_Texas“The New Yorker” (Sept. 7, 2009) carries an article by David Grann about Cameron Todd Willingham (right), executed by the state of Texas for a 1991 fire he did not set. The fire killed his three children. A caption under a 1994 picture of Willingham on his Death Row bunk bed says:

He insisted upon his innocence in the deaths of his children and refused an offer to plead guilty in return for a life sentence.

So Willingham is dead and not because the death penalty deters crime and not because society needs protection from the worst of the worst and not because fair punishment demands just retribution:

Cameron Todd Willingham is dead because he wouldn’t cut a deal with the prosecutors.

By what right, what code, by what legal theory can prosecutors annul the three legal and public policy pillars used to justify the death penalty and decide to impose it because a man won’t compromise on his claims of innocence?

(Photo: Courtesy of Texas Department of Criminal Justice)

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