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Rick Perry Receives Applause for ‘Ultimate Justice’ at GOP Debate

David J. Sams/Getty Images(SIMI VALLEY, Calif.) -- Rick Perry apparently loses no sleep over authorizing 234 executions in more than a decade as Texas' governor.

Perry has authorized more executions than any governor in the history of the United States.  He said at a Republican presidential debate Wednesday that he has never worried that the state of Texas has executed an innocent man.

“I’ve never struggled with that at all.  The state of Texas has a very thoughtful, a very clear process in place,” Perry said.  “When someone commits the most heinous of crimes against our citizens, they get a fair hearing, they go through an appellate process, they go up to the Supreme Court of the United States if that’s required.”

Perry said the death penalty should be dealt with on a state-by-state basis but supports the decision of Texas to uphold the death penalty, calling it the “ultimate justice.”

“In the state of Texas, if you come into our state and you kill one of our children, you kill a police officer, you’re involved with another crime and you kill one of our citizens, you will face the ultimate justice in the state of Texas, and that is you will be executed,” he said.

When NBC’s Brian Williams asked Perry the question about the death penalty and pointed to the 234 executions -- even before Perry answered -- the Republican debate crowd erupted in applause for the governor’s actions.  Perry pointed to the applause as indicating a vast majority of Americans supports capital punishment.

The next execution in Texas is scheduled for Sept. 15.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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