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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…

Duterte claims Jokowi complained to him about US and EU interfering in national policy, including capital punishment

Rodrigo Duterte (left) and Joko "Jokowi" Widodo
Rodrigo Duterte (left) and Joko "Jokowi" Widodo
President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines and President Joko Widodo of Indonesia employ very different political styles. While Duterte is known abroad for his brazenly outspoken, at times vulgar rhetoric, Jokowi is known for being soft-spoken and averse to controversial statements. But one of their similarities is that they have both expressed support for the use of the death penalty, particularly for drug dealers.

And, according to the popular-at-home, controversial-abroad president of the Philippines, both of them share complaints about western countries interfering with their domestic policy, particularly on the use of capital punishment.

“And for example, President Widodo, what is his main complaint when we talked to each other? It’s really America and… the rest of the EU,” Duterte said yesterday as quoted by The Philippine Star.

“They would call you from time to time and insist that we do away with the death penalty in the statutes,” he added.

Duterte did not mention when Jokowi supposedly made these comments to him, but they had a phone conversation in late June and also met when the Philippine leader visited Jakarta in April.

The context of Duterte’s claims about Jokowi were his own complaints about US State Department officials criticizing his regime’s violent war on drugs and his proposed reinstatement of the death penalty (capital punishment is not currently legal in the Philippines, though many critics have argued that the large number of deaths caused by the country’s drug war are tantamount to extra-judicial killings tacitly sanctioned by Duterte).

While President Joko Widodo staunchly defended Indonesia’s use of the death penalty to combat the country’s so-called “drug emergency” in the face of widespread international condemnation in the past, in recent months his stance seems to have softened as he has suggested he would be open to revising the policy and possibly reimplementing a moratorium on its use.

Source: Coconut Jakarta, July 13, 2017

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