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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…

Florida death row inmate wants early execution

Wayne Doty
Wayne Doty
BRADFORD COUNTY, Fla.--A two-time convicted murderer is asking for mercy from the courts, but not for a lesser sentence. Wayne Doty, who is on death row, wants to waive his right to counsel and be executed without post conviction proceedings.

The Bradford County Courthouse held a hearing to first determine if Wayne Doty was competent. This morning we heard from three expert witnesses testifying Doty is competent enough to make an informed decision and recognizes the consequences of his decision. One witness even stated Doty, who has an 8th grade formal education, was of above average intelligence and his reasonings for wanting to be executed now were logical.

After Judge Nilon found Doty competent, the Court proceeded with a Durocher/Faretta hearing to determine whether Doty can not only discharge his counsel, but also dismiss pending post conviction proceedings in both state and federal courts. The judge said it was his obligation as a judge, and human being, to advise Doty to reconsider. In response, Doty said he would stick with his decision and feels he deserves he punishment that's been given.

The hearing lasted about four hours and Judge Nilon listened as Doty made his case for continuing without an attorney. Doty admitted during his initial trial, he didn't have any emotional feelings toward the victims or their families. However now, Doty wants everybody he hurt to move on and he doesn't think that can happen while he's still in prison.

"I've been a prosecutor since 1973," says state attorney Bill Cervone, "and this is the first time I've been through a proceeding like this where a defendant is as articulate and specific in outlining his requests that all proceedings stop and that the sentence of the law be carried out."

The judge did not make a ruling on the Durocher/Faretta hearing today, but says he hopes to rule in a reasonable time.

"Once the judge enters his order, whatever that may be, an automatic appeal [will be made] to the Florida Supreme Court," says Cervone.

At this time we do not know when the judge will make his ruling. Even when his decision is made, we won't know when the Florida Supreme Court can hear Doty's case.

Source: wcjb.com, April 1, 2016

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