Sample Political Science Case Study Paper on Death by Fire

Death by Fire

Cameron Todd Willingham’s case goes down among one of the most unfortunate blunders of the United States legal system. It was ill-fated because the damage caused is irreversible, and even if an alternate truth was adopted, there is no reversing the effect of a death penalty ruling. Cameron was unlucky enough to exist in a period that lacked advanced forensic technology in assessing evidence, and in a state which glorified instant punishment at the expense of justice. In his story, even after new findings were established to sway the judgment of the case possibly, the Texas Mayor was unable to influence the delay of prosecution.

Texas punishes capital offences such as murder by death, prosecuting the highest number of people till date. Earlier forms of this punishment included hanging, and electrocution, but later on evolved to death by lethal injection. Most nations have abandoned this form of punishment and replaced it with life incarceration. It is a more sensible form of correction because, first, the offender loses the most valuable thing to them which their freedom. Second, the regime should also put an end to capital punishment because, at the end of life incarceration, the offender still passes on. The inmates serve the community till their time of death, an aspect that is more beneficial than taking their lives.

Sentencing a person, especially who has a chance of being innocent is delicate because the action is irreversible, as was the case in Cameron’s story. He stood a chance of fighting for his freedom 12 years after serving jail term due to new evidence but the court did not grant him more time. The new evidence was quite compelling that it can be assumed that if he were in a different state, the judiciary panel or sitting mayor would have at least delayed the sentence to exhaust all possibilities of being innocent or guilty fully. It was only fair that the state recognizes the developments in possible evidence and grants Cameron a fair chance to prove his innocence. After all, if the evidence wasn’t valid, the state still had the right to uphold its sentence. 

The sitting Texas Mayor did not want to lose public support or favor by appearing to be lenient on a “capital offender”.  If Cameron had waited for 12 years for the execution, waiting a few more days or weeks to represent his case would do no harm. Their ignorance of the new evidence presented is also an indication of how the Texas government failed to administer justice. Having that the case was of public interest, none of the participating judges wanted to appear unpopular by granting Cameron a chance to redeem his innocence. The appellate judges are normally elected to office, making them dispensable upon the public’s wish.

Reviewing this case using the Texas system, everything that could have gone wrong did so for Cameron. He was found guilty based on observations that were not examined keenly. The prosecutors were bent on pinning the guilt on him instead of concentrating on finding the truth. They did not establish a motive for his action, nor give facts that established that the fire was intentional. The Texas State officials should use this error made in Cameron’s case as a reference to the need to create reforms in their law.