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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…

Human rights lawyer to file complaint in UN for denial of Kho Jabing's right to counsel

Singapore's Changi Prison
Singapore's Changi Prison
Human rights lawyer M Ravi has said in a Facebook post that Kho Jabing suffered an egregious breach of his constitutional right to counsel just hours before he was executed.

Mr Ravi said that he was with lawyer Alfred Dodwell and other activists outside the Chambers of the judge on Thursday (19 May) evening, and so know that Jabing's family had instructed both lawyers Alfred Dodwell and Jeannette Chong-Aruldoss to represent him at the hearing which was fixed before Judicial Commissioner (JC) Kannan.

In pointing out that there were 3 state counsels present at the hearing, Mr Ravi said that he was astounded when Mr Dodwell was denied entry into the Judge's Chambers by the court officer. Only Mrs Chong-Aruldoss was allowed into the Chambers. Mr Ravi said that this was very unusual and that after three hours of hearing, Ms Chong-Aruldoss came out of the chambers to inform the activists and him that that Mr Dodwell was not allowed.

"When the state had 3 counsels, why can't Kho Jabing have 2 counsels to represent him," asked Mr Ravi.

"This is his constitutional right," said Mr Ravi in pointing out Article 9(3) of the Constitution which said: "Where a person is arrested, he ... shall be allowed to consult and be defended by a legal practitioner of his choice."

Mr Ravi said that the JC "had clearly breached Article 9(3) of the Constitution of Kho Jabing's right to counsel and to be defended by a lawyer or any number of lawyers of his choice."

"I will be shortly filing a complaint against the Singapore State in this matter with Mr. Christof Heyes, who is the UN Special Rapporteur on Extra Judicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions or Killing," he added.

Meanwhile Mr Dodwell in thanking blogger Andrew Loh for writing a Facebook note thanking the anti-death penalty activists and lawyers who defend death-row inmates said that he "could choose to sue Bilahari for his defamatory statement that it was "politically motivated"."

He added: "I reflected on it and I will take the high road and don't waste my life on insignificant people whose views really does not matter. It's venomous and erroneous."

Mr Bilahari Kausikan, Singapore's Ambassador-at-large, had in sharing the news report of the lawyers' attempts to save the murderer's life suggested that it was politically motivated.

Mr Kausikan said: "This politically motivated 11th hour attempt to stay execution is despicable. If there were no new facts or arguments, they must - unless they were totally incompetent lawyers - have known that the appeal would fail. So they raised false hope in Mr Kho's family and perhaps in Mr Kho himself for their own political agenda. That is completely cynical and ought to be condemned."

Source: The Independent, May 23, 2016

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