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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…

Indonesia: Convicted Filipina drug mule Mary Jane Veloso pleads for help from Duterte

Mary Jane Veloso
Mary Jane Veloso
"I know you have a good heart. You are a parent as well. Even if my family is poor, I will not be involved in illegal drugs. Even if they put me behind bars. I cannot accept these accusations because I am innocent. I am innocent. I am innocent."

These were the words of Mary Jane Veloso as she begged for the assistance of President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday through a recorded voice message from her family on July 31.

The 31-year-old Cabanatuan native is currently on death row in Indonesia on drug trafficking charges. She was scheduled to be executed in April last year but was granted a reprieve following an international outcry to spare her life.

As evidenced by her cracking voice, the sobbing Veloso pleaded for her freedom from the president, who is notorious for his approach in eradicating the illegal drug trade in the country.

"Beloved President of the Philippines. This is Mary Jane," the former domestic helper said in her plea.

"I've been suffering here in Indonesia for too long. I've had to endure a lot in my life and despite being poor, I am a God-fearing person," she said.

The past administration's efforts to bargain for Veloso's freedom have remained futile, and she hopes to be free with Duterte's help.

"You're my only hope, dear President. I know you're the only one who could help me," she said.

"I know a lot of people still believe and support me, but you know it works differently here. I need justice, and I badly need it now. I'm begging you," she further said.

Despite being detained since 2010, Veloso remained hopeful that she would receive pardon for a crime she said she didn't commit.

"Even if many doubt my innocence, God won't forget me. He sees everything I'm doing; He knows I've done no wrong," she said.

The president has yet to release a statement on Veloso's plea.

Source: The Jakarta Post, Sept. 3, 2016

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