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Texas Should Not Have Executed Robert Pruett

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Update: Robert Pruett was executed by lethal injection on Thursday.
Robert Pruett is scheduled to be executed by the State of Texas Thursday. He has never had a chance to live outside a prison as an adult. Taking his life is a senseless wrong that shows how badly the justice system fails juveniles.
Mr. Pruett was 15 years old when he last saw the outside world, after being arrested as an accomplice to a murder committed by his own father. Now 38, having been convicted of a murder while incarcerated, he will be put to death. At a time when the Supreme Court has begun to recognize excessive punishments for juveniles as unjust, Mr. Pruett’s case shows how young lives can be destroyed by a justice system that refuses to give second chances.
Mr. Pruett’s father, Sam Pruett, spent much of Mr. Pruett’s early childhood in prison. Mr. Pruett and his three siblings were raised in various trailer parks by his mother, who he has said used drugs heavily and often struggled to feed the children. Wh…

Ruth Bader Ginsburg predicts possible end to capital punishment

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
The death penalty could be dying, according to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The outspoken liberal icon tackled capital punishment and a host of other hot topics during a sold-out summer George Washington University forum held last week by the Washington Council of Lawyers.

Toward the end of an hour-long talk, Ginsburg fielded a question about the future of capital punishment.

"The only comment I would make is that the incidence of capital punishment has gone down, down, down so that now, I think, there are only three states that actually administer the death penalty," she said.

"And not even whole states, but particular areas of states. It may depend on who's the district attorney."

Though she didn't actually mention Harris County by name, it easily may have been one of the areas that first sprung to mind for the 84-year-old justice.

Houston and its surroundings have long been seen as the capital of capital punishment, a standout even in a state with a longstanding enthusiasm for execution. For 21 years, one zealous and legendary district attorney - John Holmes Jr. - pursued the death penalty with a vigor unmatched almost anywhere else.

But the end of Holmes' tenure came in 2000, the same year capital punishment peaked in Texas. 

Although the Lone Star State kept Huntsville's death chamber busy with 40 executions that year, last year saw a 20-year low.

In Texas and across the nation, state-sanctioned deaths have declined in light of legal uncertainties, moratoriums, and lethal injection drug shortages. For Ginsburg, the writing's on the wall.

"We may see an end to capital punishment by attrition as there are fewer and fewer executions," Ginsburg declared.

Source: Houston Chronicle, Keri Blakinger, August 2, 2017

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