Nearly three out of four death dates scheduled nationwide in 2017 were cancelled, after courts and governors intervened in 58 executions, the Houston Chronicle reports. While executions have declined, Texas is still the nation’s “killingest state.” Nearly a third of the year’s 23 executions took place in Texas. “Texas continues to move away from the death penalty, even in traditional outlier counties,” said Kristin Houlé of the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.
The Gallup poll clocked support of capital punishment at its lowest level in 45 years, while executions and new death sentences stayed at near-record lows. “The process is better than it was a decade ago,” said Robert Dunham of the Death Penalty Information Center. “And there were some potentially wrongful executions that resulted in stays this year that would have resulted in executions a decade ago, but there are still significant and troubling failures.” Ohio and Texas contributed significantly to the number of cancelled executions. The Lone Star state saw nine prisoners’ execution dates called off this year, many due to claims of false or misleading testimony or forensic evidence. San Antonio death row inmate Juan Castillo had three dates called off, including one delayed due to Hurricane Harvey and another cancelled in light of claims that his conviction was based on false testimony.