Texas Death Penalty
Capital Punishment in Texas: Facts & Figures
Texas has a lot of firsts: It is the first state to administer an execution via lethal injection and ranks #1 in the nation for the number of death penalties since 1976. The state has executed 569 people since 1982, most of which occurred between 2000 and 2014. In 2020, two people have been executed so far, while four people have received stays due to COVID-19. You can read more about these surprising statistics on the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty website.
The death penalty may be warranted if a defendant is convicted of a capital felony, which involves the action of intentionally or knowingly causing the death of an individual under certain circumstances, including:
- murder of a public safety officer or firefighter in the line of duty
- murder during the commission of specified felonies (kidnapping, burglary, robbery, aggravated rape, arson)
- murder for remuneration
- multiple murders
- murder during prison escape
- murder of a correctional officer
- murder of a judge
- murder by a state prison inmate who is serving a life sentence for any of five offenses
- murder of an individual under six years of age
In 2005, Texas implemented a life without parole law which allows a defendant in a capital felony case to be sentenced to life in prison without parole as an alternative to the death penalty. This is also referred to as “death by incarceration.” Before this law was enforced, a defendant was either sentenced to the death penalty or a life sentence without the possibility of parole until 40 years were served.
Pros & Cons
While some may argue that the death penalty is inhumane, others may believe the opposite. Proponents of the death penalty may argue that it deters people from committing capital felonies, fully eliminates the possibility of prison escape and subsequent public threat, and better serves justice.
Those who are against the death penalty, such as Amnesty International, argue that it “ … is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.” Some propose that it doesn’t make sense to kill someone as a punishment for killing another person. Further, opponents argue that a potentially innocent person may be executed.
Whichever side of the argument you stand on, we can surely agree that facing the death penalty must be avoided at all costs. Violent criminals in Texas face this penalty at a higher rate than those in other states, meaning it’s imperative to prevent this deadly possibility by utilizing every means necessary to fight against it.
If you’ve been charged with a violent crime, our defense lawyers can vigorously defend your rights and work to get your sentence reduced or dismissed altogether. Contact us at (817) 435-4970 for a free consultation!