What You May Not Know About the Death Penalty in Texas

hands in handcuffs

Texas takes a notoriously tough stance on capital crimes, which include murder. Capital punishment and the death penalty are especially serious responses, and Texas is not shy about taking this exceptionally harsh approach. Some states ban capital punishment altogether, which makes executions as controversial as a legal punishment can be. There are some facts about the death penalty in Texas that are likely to surprise you.

The Facts

According to the Death Penalty Information Center, all of the following are true regarding the death penalty in Texas (and in relation to the nation at large):

  • Throughout the first seven months of 2021, executions in the United States were almost at an all-time low, but Texas was the one state that carried out any executions (with a total of two).

  • The last time that a state other than Texas went through with an execution was Missouri in May of 2020.

  • As of the beginning of August 2021, there are seven executions pending in the United States, and six of them are in Texas (the other is in Missouri).

  • Texas was the first state to implement an execution by lethal injection (in 1982).

  • Harris County in Texas is responsible for more than 280 death sentences and for 127 executions since 1982.

  • Of the 254 counties in the State of Texas, 136 of them have never sent a prisoner to death row (from 1976 to current).

  • Before a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision declared the practice unconstitutional, Texas executed 13 juveniles.

Texas has made a dubious name for itself when it comes to the death penalty.

Famous Cases

There are two very notable Texas death penalty cases.

Karla Faye Tucker

Karla Faye Tucker was convicted of murder in the State of Texas in 1984 and was executed in 1998 at the age of 38. She was the first woman to be executed in the state since 1863 (and the first woman to be executed in the United States since 1984).

Cameron Todd Willingham

Cameron Todd Willingham was executed in 2004 for charges related to a 1991 house fire that killed his three young daughters. The theories used to prove that Williamham committed arson have since been debunked, and experts in arson now believe that the deadly fire may not have been caused by arson – but was, instead, accidental.

In fact, there have been several Texas executions of death row inmates despite the fact that there were serious doubts about their guilty status. None of these five people, however, have been officially exonerated.

Discuss Your Case with an Experienced Killeen Criminal Attorney Today

If you are facing a criminal charge of any kind, Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, is a knowledgeable criminal attorney who takes great pride in skillfully defending the rights of his clients – in zealous pursuit of their cases’ most beneficial resolutions. To learn more about how we can also help you, please do not wait to contact or call us at 254-501-4040 today.

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