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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…

South Carolina: State asks for mental evaluation of Dylann Roof

Dylann Roof
Dylann Roof
Prosecutors say they want an independent psychological evaluation of accused church shooter Dylann Roof to rebut or confirm the findings from a pair of evaluations performed by the defense team's experts.

The request comes about a week after a judge delayed the murder trial until 2017 to give psychologists more time to draw conclusions about Roof's mental state. 

Defense attorneys estimated it would take another 6 months for the full reported to be completed.

"In the present case, recent hearings leave no doubt of the defense's intentions to present mental health evidence during the sentencing phase of this trial," Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said in the filing.

Wilson says the mental evaluation will be sealed from the State until the penalty phase begins to prevent self-incrimination by Roof.

Roof is accused of killing 9 black parishioners at Emanuel AME Church in downtown Charleston. He faces a number of murder and attempted murder charges for the shooting and prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty.

Roof also faces nearly three dozen federal hate crimes charges, but the Attorney General's office has not yet announced whether it will seek the death penalty also. As a result, that decision has caused a delay in scheduling the federal trial.

Roof's attorneys at the state and federal level have said multiple times that Roof is willing to plead guilty if prosecutors remove the possiblity of death as a sentence.

Source: WCIV news, April 21, 2016

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