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December 2, 2007

A quarter century of (T)executions

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram has this article marking a notable date in the history of Texas justice. The piece is entitled "Texas reaches milestone: 25 years, 405 execution," and the paper has these additional companion pieces: an item headlined "Questions, answers about the death penalty"; an editorial entitled "The long green mile of the death penalty"; and an op-ed entitled "The first to die by injection."  Thanks to this post at Grits, I see that the Texas Prison Museum in Huntsville is having an event to mark this deadly anniversary.

Disappointingly, but not surprisingly, none of this coverage explores the economic costs to Texas taxpayers for the state's capital punishment system.  Notably, a 2005 study indicated that the State of New Jersey spent more than $250 million on capital punishment since it was reinstated in that state.  Given the much larger number of capital prosecutions (but also likely a much smaller per case cost), it seems fair to estimate that Texas taxpayers have spent more than $1 billion on the state's capital justice system. 

Thanks to How Appealing for the links to these pieces and lots of other death penalty stories.

December 2, 2007 at 08:48 PM | Permalink


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Maybe we should send him a commemorative plaque or something in honor of this great achievement. Texas is a little less full of criminals now then it was 25 years ago.

I still think a wall keeping the Texans it would keep the rest of us safe, though.

Posted by: S.cotus | Dec 2, 2007 11:29:11 PM

I didn't read the article yet, but I hope it mentions that approx. 40% of all of texas's death sentences were imposed in Harris County (the Houston area). One county out of the 254 in the state accounts for about 40% of all death penalty verdicts. Harris County, TX is the death penalty capital of the world.

Posted by: bruce | Dec 3, 2007 2:17:24 AM

When George Bush was Governor how many human beings on death row were killed during his tour of duty? The article in the Texas newspaper states that the Governor may only pardon or commute a death penalty sentence upon the recommendation of the State Board of Pardons and Paroles.
How many human beings did the compasionate conservative pardon? How many human beings had their sentence of death altered by him to life without parole or otherwise altered?

Were there any cases where the killed defendant was later found to be actually innocent by DNA testing or otherwise?

For all of those killed by the doctors and the executioners in the name of the Governor and the great State of Texas over these 25 years, how many were killed on Sunday-- the Christian Sabbath? How many on Saturday?

Presently, what is the role of the medical profession in these killings?

Someone out there has these answers. Inquiring minds want to know.

Posted by: M.P. Bastian | Dec 3, 2007 4:56:08 AM

S.cotus, we're with you on the wall, buddy. Personally I have long held that while the wall with Mexico is unnecessary, if it were possible to build one that would keep out Californians, I'd be willing to talk. ;)

Posted by: Gritsforbreakfast | Dec 3, 2007 8:06:03 AM

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