Houston, TX -- (ReleaseWire) -- 01/16/2015 --Texas holds a reputation as the state in the nation where laws regarding the death penalty are harsh. The state ranks as number one in the number of executions performed each year; Texas executed 15 people in 2012, 16 in 2013, and 10 as of December 11, 2014. The prevalence of execution in Texas stems from a number of factors included its public defender system, culture, and statutory and procedural processes. Which is why it's surprising that in late November of 2014, a Texas veteran appeals court judge called for an abolition of the practice.
Executing an Innocent Man an "Irrational Risk"
Judge Tom Price's logic for doing away with capital punishment in Texas is simple – executing an innocent man poses as "irrational risk," according to an article published in the Houston Chronicle, and one that shouldn't be allowed by Texas' criminal justice system. A 2012 study published by the University of Michigan – Northwestern University names Texas as third in the nation for the number of wrongful convictions, a study that Price cited during his statement.
Price furthered his position by arguing that Texas' life without parole law makes capital punishment unnecessary, and that the practice of executing prisoners does not show proof as an effective means of deterrence for crime, nor retribution.
Comments Made on the Eve of an Execution in Texas
Price's comments weren't made out of context; instead, the option was expressed when Price dissented on the 6-3 decision regarding whether or not Scott Panetti, a convicted murderer who's also been diagnosed with schizophrenia, should be executed. Dissenters, like Price, argued that Panetti's mental condition rendered him ineligible for the death penalty under the U.S. constitution. Despite the argument, the court found that the petition for appeal failed to meet necessary requirements.
On Wednesday, December 3, 2014, however, an appeals court made a last-minute decision to issue a stay, only 12 hours before Panetti was scheduled to be executed.
An Unexpected – But Long Awaited – Statement
When Judge Tom Price – a veteran of the law who has served on the high appeals court since the year 1996 – presented his opinion on the consequences of the death penalty, many were caught off guard, but pleased. The statement was long awaited, said a former law professor at the University of Texas, Maurie Levin.
While professionals in the field hailed Price's remarks, how the Texas public will respond is unknown. At this point, public polls show an overwhelming support for capital punishment in the state. However, as more states throughout the nation take capital punishment off the books – or at least out of the system in practice – Texas is bound to be left behind if changes aren't made.
An Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Continues to be a Must
About Neal Davis Law Firm, PLLC
Texas hasn't done away with capital punishment yet, and probably won't do so for many years to come. If you've been charged with a serious crime in Texas, an experience attorney on your side who will advocate for your is your best chance of avoiding an overly harsh sentence. The attorneys at the Neal Davis Law Firm, PLLC, will work hard to make sure that your rights under the law are adequately defended, and that your interested are adequately represented. A charge doesn't have to turn into a conviction – for legal help, call our offices today at 713-322-7899.
Neal Davis Law Firm, PLLC
917 Franklin Street #600 Houston, TX 77002