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Why Texas’ ‘death penalty capital of the world’ stopped executing people

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Since the Supreme Court legalized capital punishment in 1976, Harris County, Texas, has executed 126 people. That's more executions than every individual state in the union, barring Texas itself.
Harris County's executions account for 23 percent of the 545 people Texas has executed. On the national level, the state alone is responsible for more than a third of the 1,465 people put to death in the United States since 1976.
In 2017, however, the county known as the "death penalty capital of the world" and the "buckle of the American death belt" executed and sentenced to death a remarkable number of people: zero.
This is the first time since 1985 that Harris County did not execute any of its death row inmates, and the third year in a row it did not sentence anyone to capital punishment either.
The remarkable statistic reflects a shift the nation is seeing as a whole.
“The practices that the Harris County District Attorney’s Office is following are also signifi…

Unfair trials lead to death-row convictions in Indonesia

Corrupt legal system, poor investigations 'work against the innocent'

Many prisoners in Indonesia on death row are there as a result of unfair trials, according to an Indonesian church official.

"Lots of people are still waiting for their execution. Many of them are the fruit of unfair trials," said Father Paulus Christian Siswantoko, secretary of the bishops' Commission for Justice, Peace and Pastoral for Migrant-Itinerant People, during a Dec. 13 discussion program at the bishops' conference's office in Jakarta.

"If those sentenced to death are finally executed and then research is done after their execution that shows they are victims of unfair trials, the state cannot do anything to pay for its sins," he said.

"This is something that we must reveal, we must tell the public. We must see that trials are not always fair," he said.

Father Siswantoko referred to the case of a 54-year-old Catholic layman named Christian, who was arrested in November 2007 on drug trafficking charges, convicted and later sentenced to death.

The bishops' Advocacy and Human Rights Forum are trying to help secure the man's release. Father Siswantoko said he was convicted on false evidence and received an unfair trial.

Azas Tigor Nainggolan, forum coordinator, said Christian, who is being held in Tangerang prison in Banten province, had a name that was similar to a known drug dealer wanted by police, who did follow proper investigatory procedures.

"Christian was not arrested at the crime scene and was never asked for a urine test, which is essential in drug-related cases," he told ucanews.com.

He said the forum was preparing to submit a judicial review for Christian's case and request clemency.

Nainggolan said that Indonesia's legal system remained corrupt. "This can be seen from unfair trials. And it would be very heavy if unfair trials have to be faced by those sentenced to death," he said.

He said the forum has uncovered at least 300 death penalty convictions that were the result of unfair trials.

Meanwhile, Talitha Kara, Christian's daughter, said her family hopes justice will prevail.

"We just want the state to enforce the law. I want my father to be sent home. That's all," she told ucanews.com.

Source: ucanews.com, December 14, 2015

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Why Texas’ ‘death penalty capital of the world’ stopped executing people