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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

398 Executions in Texas; Zero Executions in Wisconsin

Today, Lonnie Johnson became the 100th person executed after being given a death sentence by a Harris County jury. The total for Harris County is more than any other state except Texas, where Johnson would be 398th convicted killer to receive lethal injection since the state resumed capital punishment in 1982. The state with the second highest number of executions is Virgina with 98.

So far in 2007, 19 people have been executed in Texas. Oklahoma, Ohio and Indiana have each had two executions in 2007. Six other states have executed one person each.

Despite the enormous number of executions in Texas compared to other states, the national anti-death penalty leadership continues to send major funding to fight the death penalty in states that do not even have the death penalty, such as Wisconsin and Iowa, which received $50,000 and $20,000 from the Tides Death Penalty Mobilization Fund in late 2006. In 2007, Wisconsin and Iowa continue not to have the death penalty.

Meanwhile Judge Carven Angel of Florida's Circuit Court has ordered a halt to executions because of concerns that the state's new lethal injection protocols do not adequately address problems exposed in the state's last execution. The new protocols were created after Florida's botched execution of Angel Diaz in December 2006. The execution took more than 30 minutes after two tries, and then-governor Jeb Bush ordered a review of the process. Judge Angel's oral order to stop executions came on Sunday, July 22, after he abruptly shut down a week-long hearing in which defense attorneys for Ian Lightbourne and dozens of other clients on death row were challenging the new protocols.

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