Tribpedia: Death Penalty

The death penalty is the ultimate punishment for capital murder convictions in Texas, which leads the nation in the number of executions since the practice resumed in 1976.

The state has adopted various methods to administer the death penalty over the years, including hanging (1819-1923), electrocution (1924-1964) and lethal injection (1977-today), according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's ...

September 17, 2010 - Activist Jamie Bush attends the Texas Forensic Science Commission board meeting on September 17, 2010 in Dallas, Texas.
September 17, 2010 - Activist Jamie Bush attends the Texas Forensic Science Commission board meeting on September 17, 2010 in Dallas, Texas.

Prosecutor Accused of Misconduct in Execution Case

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In a major turn in one of the country’s most-noted death penalty cases, the State Bar of Texas has filed a formal accusation of misconduct against the county prosecutor who convicted Cameron Todd Willingham, a Texas man executed in 2004 for the arson murder of his three young daughters.

 

Manuel Vasquez, convicted for his part in the 1998 capital murder of a San Antonio woman, is scheduled to be executed Wednesday night.
Manuel Vasquez, convicted for his part in the 1998 capital murder of a San Antonio woman, is scheduled to be executed Wednesday night.

San Antonio Gang Member Executed

A Mexican Mafia hit man convicted for his part in the 1998 capital murder of a San Antonio woman was executed Wednesday evening, leaving the state prison system with only enough pentobarbital for one more execution. 

Texas Death Row inmate Miguel Angel Paredes.
Texas Death Row inmate Miguel Angel Paredes.

Court Suspends Death Row Inmate's Lawyer Over Late Filing

The Court of Criminal Appeals has suspended a criminal defense lawyer, arguing that he filed motions to stop executions too late. The move is the latest evidence of an ongoing feud in Texas between lawyers who appeal on behalf of inmates facing executions and the judges who rule on their claims. 

The Slow Death of the Death Penalty

Since capital punishment was reinstated by the Supreme Court in 1976, the cost of carrying out a death penalty trial has risen steadily. In states such as Texas, where county governments pay for both the prosecution and defense of capital defendants (nearly all of whom are indigent) when they go to trial, the pressure on local budgets is especially strong. 

Death row inmate Scott Panetti.
Death row inmate Scott Panetti.

Federal Appeals Court Issues Stay For Panetti

The U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday halted the execution of a Texas death row inmate with a history of schizophrenia, just hours before he was to be put to death in Huntsville. In its order, the court says the stay allows it "to fully consider the late arriving and complex legal questions at issue in this matter."

Outgoing Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Tom Price.
Outgoing Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Tom Price.

Criminal Appeals Judge Price: I Oppose Death Penalty

A Republican judge on Texas’ highest criminal court says he now opposes the death penalty. Judge Tom Price, one of nine members of the Court of Criminal Appeals, wrote Wednesday that he has “given a substantial amount of consideration to the propriety of the death penalty as a form of punishment for those who commit capital murder, and I now believe that it should be abolished.”

 

Death row inmate Scott Panetti.
Death row inmate Scott Panetti.

Panetti Case Highlights Lack of Sanity Standard

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The fact that Scott Panetti is facing lethal injection on Dec. 3 despite a 30-year history of documented mental illness demonstrates that the ambiguities of the legal standard of “competency” he helped to define are far from resolved.

In 2004, Davontae Marcel Williams, on the left, was found starved to death. Lisa Ann Coleman, on the right, is scheduled to be executed Wednesday night for her role in the boy's death. If carried out, she would be the sixth woman to be executed in Texas since 1982.
In 2004, Davontae Marcel Williams, on the left, was found starved to death. Lisa Ann Coleman, on the right, is scheduled to be executed Wednesday night for her role in the boy's death. If carried out, she would be the sixth woman to be executed in Texas since 1982.

Woman Executed for Boy's 2004 Starvation Death

UPDATED: Lisa Ann Coleman, 38, was executed Wednesday for the starvation death of her girlfriend’s son, Davontae Marcel Williams, 9. Coleman is the the sixth woman to be executed in the state since 1982.

Execution chamber shot from one of two witness viewing rooms at the Huntsville Unit in Huntsville Texas.
Execution chamber shot from one of two witness viewing rooms at the Huntsville Unit in Huntsville Texas.

TDCJ Viewing Policy Reduces Witnesses to Executions

As public scrutiny of the state's execution process is increasing, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice is more strictly implementing a media viewing policy that means fewer witnesses to the controversial procedure. TDCJ argues it is following procedure, but media lawyers say the rules prevent transparency. 

 

Attorney General Greg Abbott speaks to press after voting in the primary on March 4th, 2014 at South Austin church. Abbott is running for the Republican nomination for Governor of Texas
Attorney General Greg Abbott speaks to press after voting in the primary on March 4th, 2014 at South Austin church. Abbott is running for the Republican nomination for Governor of Texas

AG: Prisons Can Keep Info About Execution Drugs Secret

Reversing his stance in three previous rulings, Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott on Thursday ruled that the state prison system can withhold information about the suppliers of drugs used in lethal injections.