Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Cameron Todd Willingham: Hundreds of Texas arson convictions under review. Star-Telegram.

STORY: "Effort continues to examine Texas arson convictions," by reporter Yamil Berard, published in the "Star-Telegram" on August 4, 2012.

Texas criminal justice watchdogs are examining records from hundreds of arson convictions to try to weed out examples of the same junk science that was used in the Cameron Todd Willingham conviction. At the request of the state's top forensic panel, the Texas Innocence Project has discovered that the majority of Texas' 1,025 arson-related crimes in recent years amount to trash bin fires and crimes of men who torch their girlfriend's drapes. Of those, a dozen could echo the faulty science that was used to convict Willingham of the arson that killed his three young daughters, said Jeff Blackburn, chief counsel for the Innocence Project of Texas. "We might actually get some innocent people out of prison, and that's our goal," Blackburn said. By endorsing Blackburn's work, the Texas Forensic Science Commission is expected to send a clear message to fire investigators in the state of the proper protocols to use in handling arson-related cases. For many months, commissioners have been calling for additional reviews of arson-murder cases like Willingham's because evidence was analyzed by methods now called into question or proved wrong. Commissioners issued a report on the Willingham case that highlighted examples of some of that outdated science and said that some methods used were little more than an oral history passed down from older fire investigators to newer arson investigators."

The entire story can be found at:

See also the Frontline story on the arson cases review which can be found at the following link along with "Death by Fire" - an excellent movie on the Willingham case.


I am monitoring this case. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:

Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to:

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog;