Death Penalty | KERA News

Death Penalty

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2002 that executing people with intellectual disabilities is cruel and unusual punishment.
Illustration by Miguel Gutierrez Jr., The Texas Tribune

 

Video: What Does Race Have To Do With The Death Penalty In Texas?

Dec 23, 2018
Screen capture from video by Pearson via Texas Tribune

Studies have shown that Texas prosecutors chose to pursue the death penalty more often when a defendant was black than if a defendant was white. And while black Texans might be overrepresented on death row, past investigations have shown they were often underrepresented in jury pools.

Jolie McCullough / Texas Tribune

Texas again executed far more inmates than any other state in 2018, according to year-end reports released Friday by two groups critical of the death penalty.

Alvin Braziel was sentenced to death for killing Doug White and raping his wife, Lora White, on a Mesquite jogging trail in 1993.
TDCJ

Lora and Douglas White were married for 10 days when the couple decided on Sept. 21, 1993, to take a walk around Eastfield College in Mesquite. It was the last thing the newlyweds would do together. The night tragically ended in a murder and rape that eventually landed Alvin Avon Braziel Jr. on death row.

A San Antonio man is set to die by lethal injection on Tuesday for a murder he didn’t actually commit. As part of the notorious “Texas 7” escape, Joseph Garcia was convicted and sentenced to die under a controversial law some say is unconstitutional.

 


Michael Graczyk / AP

In nearly 46 years of reporting for The Associated Press, Mike Graczyk has seen at least 429 Texans go to their deaths in Huntsville.

That's almost a third of all the inmates executed in the United States since the Supreme Court reaffirmed capital punishment in 1976.

The Catholic Church now formally considers the death penalty "inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person" and is pledging to work for its abolition worldwide.

It's a shift for the church, which used to consider the death penalty a "means of safeguarding the common good" in response to "certain crimes." The update to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the book of official teachings of the church, was announced Thursday.

From Texas Standard.

Texas has been fighting to keep a secret for years now – the name of the pharmacy that supplies its execution drugs. But late last week, after a lengthy court battle, the state Supreme Court refused to grant an appeal of a lower court ruling that the state must reveal where it gets these drugs.

From Texas Standard.

Some people are convinced that hypnosis is real: they’ve seen it done, they’ve experienced being hypnotized. But is it science? Is it so reliable that we should be able to use it to help make life or death decisions? Two death row inmates have had their sentences delayed as they make the case that they were convicted on the basis of evidence obtained through hypnosis. They say – and other states would agree – that amounts to junk science.

Shelby Knowles

Anthony Graves spent 12 years on death row before a conservative federal court tossed out his wrongful capital murder conviction. Texas courts had previously rejected all of his appeals.

“I had to get out of the state of Texas and into the federal court system to get help,” he told The Texas Tribune on Friday. “If it was up to the state itself, I would have been executed.”

From Texas Standard.

Texas is re-upping a request to “opt in” to a federal law that would speed up the execution appeals process in the state, potentially leading to quicker executions.

From Texas Standard.

Thomas Bartlett Whitaker wasn’t supposed to be alive now. He was scheduled to be the fourth person executed in Texas this year, sentenced to death for coordinating the 2003 Sugar Land murders of his mom and brother and the attempted murder of his dad. He wanted the insurance money.

TDCJ/Texas Tribune

More than 10 years had passed and nearly 150 people had been executed since a Texas governor last spared an inmate from a death sentence.

From Texas Standard:

Following the execution of a Dallas man last week, the status of the state's supply of execution drugs is under new scrutiny. In a last-minute appeal to halt the execution, the prisoner's attorneys claimed two other executions this year were botched. The appeal was denied.

Dallas County Court files

Despite a last-ditch effort to stop his execution, John Battaglia was put to death Thursday night after hours of delay.

FDA Officially Bans Texas' Attempted Import Of Execution Drugs

Apr 20, 2017
The Texas Tribune

Almost two years after Texas tried to import an execution drug from overseas, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ruled Thursday that the drug can’t be admitted into the United States.

Illustration by Callie Richmond for The Texas Tribune

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has halted the execution of Paul Storey, which was set for Wednesday.

U.S. Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Texas Death Row Inmate

Mar 28, 2017
TDCJ/Abby Livingston / The Texas Tribune

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Texas death row inmate Tuesday, sending his case back to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals and invalidating the state's current method of determining if a death-sentenced inmate is intellectually disabled and therefore ineligible for execution. Texas' method relies on decades-old medical standards and a controversial set of factors.

TDCJ / Texas Tribune

After nearly 26 years on Texas’ death row and two sentencing trials, a man convicted in the death of his friend and a 4-month-old during a Fort Worth killing spree was executed Tuesday evening.

U.S. Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Texas Death Row Inmate

Feb 22, 2017
Texas Department of Criminal Justice

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Texas death row inmate Wednesday morning, agreeing that Duane Buck’s case was prejudiced by an expert trial witness who claimed Buck was more likely to be a future danger because he is black.

Public radio stations from across the state collaborated on this series looking at the death penalty in Texas – its history, how it has changed, whom it affects and its future. 

Texas Executes Dallas Man Convicted In Double Murder

Jan 26, 2017
Jolie McCullough / Texas Tribune

After a nearly four-hour delay while waiting on final appeals in the U.S. Supreme Court, Terry Edwards was executed Thursday night for a robbery turned murder he claimed he did not commit.

TDCJ

Update: After a nearly four-hour delay while waiting on final appeals in the U.S. Supreme Court, Terry Edwards was executed Thursday night

Anthony Graves Foundation

Public radio stations from across the state collaborated on this series looking at the death penalty in Texas – its history, how it’s changed, whom it affects and its future. 

Texas executed Terry Edwards on Thursday evening, making him the second man to be put to death by the state this year. In Texas, more than 240 people sit on death row awaiting execution. Long the leading executioner in the U.S., the Lone Star State put to death fewer people last year than it has in two decades. 

Public radio stations from across the state collaborated on this series looking at the death penalty in Texas – its history, how it’s changed, whom it affects and its future. The following story is from Texas Public Radio:

When you hear about the death penalty in Texas, the discussion often focuses on criminal proceedings or policy. Often overlooked – how the death penalty affects victim’s families – the people left struggling to find healing in the wake of violent crimes.

Public radio stations from across the state collaborated on this series looking at the death penalty in Texas – its history, how it’s changed, whom it affects and its future. From Texas Standard:

Death row inmates often spend decades between the day they're sentenced and the day they're executed. That can be due to many factors – from lengthy appeals to the state being unable to get the drugs it needs to carry out executions.

State Rep. Dutton Renews Uphill Fight To Abolish The Death Penalty

Jan 23, 2017
Andrew Schneider / Houston Public Media

Public radio stations from across the state collaborated on this series looking at the death penalty in Texas – its history, how it’s changed, whom it affects and its future. The following story is from Houston Public Media.

Texas Sues FDA Over Seized Execution Drugs

Jan 3, 2017
iStock.com

Texas on Tuesday sued the Federal Drug Administration for what it says is an "unreasonable delay" in deciding whether to allow the delivery of execution drugs from India. The lawsuit comes more than 17 months after the FDA seized 1,000 vials of sodium thiopental at a Houston airport.

In 2016, 30 people were sentenced to death in America, and 20 people were executed.

Those numbers are the lowest in decades, according to a report by the Death Penalty Information Center, which collects data on capital punishment in the United States, and advocates against the death penalty.

The 2016 numbers fit with a multi-decade trend. Death sentences and executions have been declining steadily since the mid-1990s.

Graphic by Todd Wiseman

Texas — the state that has executed the most people by far since the death penalty was reinstated in the United States 40 years ago — had the nation's second-busiest death chamber this year for the first time since 2001. Georgia’s nine executions in 2016 surpassed the Lone Star State’s record-low number of seven.

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