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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…

Exonerated death row inmate challenges Hillary Clinton on her support for death penalty

Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton
Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton
Ricky Jackson of Ohio was just 18 when he was wrongly convicted of murder and imprisoned. Thirty-nine years later, he was exonerated after serving the longest-ever prison sentence for a crime he didn't commit.

On Sunday night, he stood in Columbus at a CNN town hall event to ask Hillary Clinton a question that has deeply personal ramifications.

"I spent some of those years on death row and," he said, before becoming overcome with emotion, "I came perilously close to my own execution."

"In light of what I just shared with you and in light of the fact that there are documented cases of innocent people who have been executed in our country, I would like to know how you can still take your stance on the death penalty," Jackson asked in one of the most powerful questions of the night.

Last year, Clinton made it clear that she does not support abolishing the death penalty, a position that has put her at odds with many liberals, including her Democratic presidential rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.).

On Sunday night, she specified that she believes the death penalty should be reserved for special cases, and cited the Oklahoma City bombing as an example.

"Where I end up is this: Given the challenges we face from terrorist activities primarily in our country that end up under federal jurisdiction, for very limited purposes, I think it can still be held in reserve for those," Clinton said.

She called Jackson's case a "travesty" and seemed deeply moved by his question, saying, "I can’t imagine what you went though."

"You know, this is such a profoundly difficult question and what I have said and what I continue to believe is that the states have proven themselves incapable of carrying out fair trials that give any defendant all the rights that defendants should have," Clinton said. "I would breathe a sigh of relief if either the Supreme Court or the states themselves began to eliminate the death penalty."

After Clinton's response, Jackson was asked whether he was satisfied by her answer and he responded "Yes."

Source: The Washington Post, Abby Phillip, March 13, 2016

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