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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Texas Prosecutors Acknowledge De Facto Moratorium

From the AP:

WASHINGTON - Two prosecutors in Texas, the nation's leader in executions, said Wednesday they will wait for a Supreme Court decision on lethal injection procedures before asking judges to set execution dates for death row inmates.

Roe Wilson, who handles death penalty appeals for the Harris County District Attorney's Office in the Houston area, said she also plans to ask a judge to withdraw the Feb. 26 execution date for a man convicted of killing a woman and her 2-year-old son.

"It seems the common sense thing to do at this point," Wilson said, with the Supreme Court indicating that most, if not all, executions will not go forward while it considers lethal injections in a case from Kentucky.

Bell County District Attorney Henry Garza said he asked a judge to cancel a Jan. 24 execution for the same reason. "It just seemed to me that the writing was very apparent," Garza said. "Now we'll let them rule and we can come back in and act accordingly."

In Texas, dates for executions are set by trial judges, typically at the request of local prosecutors. Twenty-six of the nation's 42 executions this year have taken place in Texas. No other state has had more than three.

Texas plans no more executions in 2007 after federal and state judges stopped four death sentences from being carried out.

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