26 December 2007

Texas kills more people than every other state combined.

At 60% of Total, Texas is Bucking Execution Trend

Of the 42 executions in the last year, 26 were in Texas. The remaining 16 were spread across nine other states, none of which executed more than three people. Many legal experts say the trend will probably continue.

Now, one could argue that Texas is a big state and its murder rate is slightly higher than the national average. But 61.9% of all executions in the nation? There has been a de facto moratorium on executions since the Supreme Court decided to hear Baze v Rees which will decide if the most commonly used cocktail of drugs used for lethal injection is cruel and unusual punishment. That has lead to a lower total this year than would have been expected otherwise.

There is reason to think that the number of death sentences in the state will fall farther, given the introduction of life without the possibility of parole as a sentencing option in capital cases in Texas in 2005. While a substantial majority of the public supports the death penalty, that support drops significantly when life without parole is included as an alternative.

You mean it wasn't before? Before 2005 in Texas, capital cases could either be life with a chance of parole or death? Jebus. I would think that life without parole as an option would be obvious. But then I'm not from that end of I-35. I'm from the end where the death penalty was made illegal 96 years ago and the Governor's talk about reinstating it was dead in the water three years ago.

Killing people as punishment for killing people is stupid and hypocritical. Gandhi summed it up better than I can; "An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind." Vengeance is not the business of the state. People can be removed from society because of their misdeeds, but that need not mean that they have to die.

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