FEATURED POST

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…

7th Oklahoma death row inmate now eligible for execution date

Oklahoma State Penitentiary
Oklahoma State Penitentiary
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected the final appeal on Monday of Oklahoma death row inmate Scott Eizember, whose 2003 crime spree resulted in the deaths of an elderly couple.

Since Eizember has exhausted his appeals, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt would normally ask the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals to set an execution date.

However, Pruitt has asked that all executions be delayed until the Oklahoma Department of Corrections finishes a report on the state's lethal injection process. Pruitt told the state appeals court in January that it would be inappropriate to move forward with executions while the protocol is being investigated.

Pruitt said he would not request an execution date until at least 150 days after the corrections department has issued its report.

The state has not executed an inmate since January 2015.

There are now 7 Oklahoma death row inmates who have exhausted their appeals.

The investigation of the state's lethal injection protocol was prompted by the discovery that a pharmacy had delivered the wrong drugs for the Sept. 30 execution of Richard Glossip.

Before that, the constitutionality of the state's lethal injection protocol had gone all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and was narrowly upheld. The challenge stemmed from the trouble-plagued execution in 2013 of Clayton Lockett.

Eizember, who is now 55, was given the death penalty for killing A.J. Cantrell in the Creek County town of Depew.

Eizember had taken Cantrell and his wife, Patsy, hostage in their home; A.J. Cantrell grabbed his shotgun and shot at Eizember, but his shot killed his own wife. Eizember then beat Cantrell to death with the gun.

Eizember was convicted of 2nd-degree felony murder for Patsy Cantrell's death.

After killing Cantrell, he shot a man and beat a woman who were related to his ex-girlfriend and lived across the street from the Cantrells. After days in hiding, he forced a couple to drive him to Texas, then beat the husband and tried to shoot the wife before he was captured.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected his arguments last year that 2 jurors in his trial should have been excused because they were improperly biased in favor of the death penalty.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined without comment to review the appeals court decision.

Source: The Oklahoman, June 14, 2016

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