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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…

Kenya: Man to hang for stealing toothpaste and toothbrush

Kenyan courtroom
A man who violently stole Sh16, a toothbrush and toothpaste faces the death penalty after his appeal was dismissed. 

James Muchangi was sentenced to death by a magistrate’s court in 2010 and has since been fighting for his freedom. His appeals at the High Court and the Court of Appeal have flopped and sealed his fate. 

On March 20, 2008, at about 5am, John Kanyingi was walking to a bus stage in Kahawa Wendani when two men armed with a panga and a piece of metal confronted him. They frisked his pockets and stole a black bag that contained a toothbrush, toothpaste and Sh16. 

The robbers cut Kanyingi on the left side of the face below the eye. He later reported the incident at Kahawa Police Post and was issued with a P3 form. 

On April 2, 2008, he was called by the police that two people had been arrested. The following day, the officers proceeded to Muchangi’s house and found Kanyingi's black bag hanging on the wall. 

Muchangi and his accomplice were then charged in court. The co-accused died during trial. 

In his defence, the accused claimed he was arrested by police officers while on his way home after having drinks at a local club. 

Muchangi maintained the charges were framed against him by the police as a way of keeping him behind bars. But the lower court did not believe his testimony and sentenced him to death for robbery with violence. 

He appealed before High Court judges Mbogholi Msagha and Lydiah Achode, arguing that the complainant did not positively identify him. But the two judges threw out the case and Muchangi moved to the Court of Appeal. 

In the Court of Appeal, he complained that he never led the police to the house where the items belonging to the complainant were recovered. 

He, however, could not explain how the items ended up in his house. “The fact that the appellant was found with personal effects of the complainant only days after the robbery points to the irresistible conclusion that he was involved in the robbery," Justices Philip Waki, Asike Makhandia and William Ouko ruled.

Source: Standard Media, Kamau Muthoni, September 25, 2017


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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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