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The good news regarding capital punishment is that 21 countries carried out executions in 2012, the same number as the previous year but down from 28 countries 10 years earlier. The top five (the U.S. is No. 5) executed 682 people, excluding the uncounted thousands executed in China. “Those five countries consistently show up as the top executors year after year,” said Amnesty International’s Widney Brown. The bad news is Texas. With 15 executions, the Lone Star State fell between Sudan (19) and Afghanistan (14.) When Texas Governor Rick Perry presided over his 252nd execution at the end of 2012 he surpassed his predecessor George W. Bush (152) and made it unlikely that any governor will ever surpass him. Good news from Texas is that no one was sentenced to death in 2012 in Harris County, which has lead the nation in capital convictions since the Supreme Court restarted the execution machinery in 1976.
Sources: Amnesty International and the Death Penalty Information Center.