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December 9, 2007

The capital year in review in Texas

Thanks to this post at CDW, I noticed this effective report from the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (TCADP). Though TCADP obviously has a anti-death penalty agenda, this report is mostly facts and just a bit of opinion. The 8-page report is entitled " Texas Death Penalty Developments in 2007: The Year in Review," and here is how it starts and ends:

December 7, 2007 marks the 25th anniversary of the resumption of executions in Texas — and the nation’s first execution by lethal injection. This comes at a time of unprecedented scrutiny of the death penalty on numerous fronts.

Even Texas has felt the impact and implications of this intense period of review. This report presents information on the death penalty in Texas in 2007, including executions, stays, and new death sentences, judicial and legislative activity, and other developments affecting the criminal justice system in the nation’s most active death penalty state....

In a year of caution, when most other states expressed concern about or acknowledged problems with their administration of the death penalty, Texas continued to carry out executions at a rate that far exceeded any other state. At one point, Texas even appeared to be on track to carry out an above average number of executions. A variety of state and federal court decisions forced the state to put its death penalty apparatus on hold for the time being, however. In addition, a spate of exonerations from Dallas County, the ongoing review of cases implicated by the Houston Police Department crime lab scandal, and investigations into potential wrongful executions continue to raise questions about the reliability of the criminal justice system. The decline in new death sentences also appears to reflect public concerns about fairness and accuracy. While efforts to improve the system met with mixed success in 2007, there is promise that recent events will have a positive impact on the future of capital punishment in Texas.

December 9, 2007 at 12:36 PM | Permalink

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