Sentencing

Texas Shifts on Death Penalty

Texas’ once rock-hard belief in the death penalty may be wavering. There have been 60 percent fewer executions in the past decade, and New Mexico and Illinois have abandoned the punishment. Could Texas, which will account for half of these sentences this year, follow? A string of exonerations (24 in Dallas County alone) combined with growing evidence that at least one innocent man was executed (not to mention the governor’s meddling with the commission looking into the case) have soured the Lone Star State on the death penalty. The number of death sentences handed down from Texas juries has fallen sharply in recent years. “In Texas we have seen a constant stream of individual cases that really destroy public faith and integrity in our criminal justice system,” Steve Hall, former chief of staff to the Texas attorney general told The Guardian.