Texas Death Penalty

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Texas Death Penalty April 25, 2011

Texas Death Penalty



_Succinct Thesis_

"From the beginning of existence, there has been a quandary number of ways to carry out death sentences from; crucifying, drowning, stoning, impalement, hanging etc. The Death penalty is only a way to pay evil for evil done to one another, not a true deterrence for the crimes, and while some cases of heinous acts deserve maximum punishment, there should be life sentences imposed instead of the death penalty. There are many states that have adopted abolishing the Death Penalty, why it is that Texas is still the leader in executions, of the thirty-four states that still recognize Capital Punishment? This paper will portray some history of Texas and the Death Penalty and suggestions of ways to abolishment"

_History of the Death Penalty_

In 1845, the state of Texas executed eight men by methods of hanging which the county officials carried out, which stayed consistent until 1923. Prior to this date each Texas County carried out their own forms of execution In August, the convicted murderer Nathan Lee was the last person Texas executed, along with the firing squad method of execution. In 1924, the execution laws of Texas were amended and stated that all executions would have to be provided by the use of the electric chair, held at Huntsville, Texas' State Penitentiary from 1924 until 1965. Texas was conducting five executions in one day, which lasted for years into the 1950's.

The state then did not begin to execute only one person at a time with no reasoning behind it, nor was there a law to stop Texas from doing so. By 1964, Texas had executed three hundred sixty one inmates by electrocution within forty years between 1924-1977, until the United States Supreme Court ruled in 1972 that Capital Punishment was a form of "cruel and unusual punishment", clearly violating the Constitutions Eighth Amendment, which resulted in the Penal Code of Texas being changed, but to only implement guidelines that legalized the capital punishment.

This new measure meant two trials needed to commence. The prosecution in the case will need to specify for the jury, that the state is seeking death as punishment. If the defendant is found guilty without a reasonable doubt in the initial case, then the second trial would convict the defendant, and determine eligibility for the death penalty. This measure was an effective tactic by the state of Texas, and by the time in 1976 when the death penalty was reinstated, Texas was the lead in executions across the nation (DPIC, 2010).

The newly adopted way of execution manifested was lethal injection in 1982, however had been a form of execution since 1977. Prior to 1923, each county facility used its own execution forms, and since the Huntsville unit the prison facilities for executions has been moved numerous times. The Mountain View Unit was implemented for Women who are on death row, and the Ellis Unit was utilized and changed to the Polanski Unit until 1999 (DPIC,2010).

Texas Criminal Homicide carries a death sentence when a violation of any 1 of 9 Aggravating Circumstances occurs according to the Penal Code Title 5 of Texas Law.

-Criminal Homicide: This crime is committed against a person who has intent to recklessly cause an individual to die, with pre-meditation in cases of negligent homicide, murder, manslaughter, and capital murder.

-Murder: this crime is committed against one out of hate, terror, engaging in the act to commit murder, rage, and producing temper. Sudden passion crimes of killing an individual because one could not hold their emotions, associated with a significant other. The intent is present to cause bodily harm, and if the defendant is proven guilty, he or she will need to address the court of any sudden passion that rose at the time of murder, which a judge could impose a lesser offense of second degree.

-Capital Murder:...
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