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Death Penalty Essay

872 words - 4 pages

Give an overview of the Death Penalty in Texas.
What are the ongoing concerns about its validity as a form of
punishment.

The death penalty at the State level in Texas dates back to 1923. There is rich history from 1923 up through present that has affected the course Texas has taken through the years concerning the death penalty. Prior to 1923, Texas counties were responsible for their own executions and hanging was generally their means of execution. In 1923, all executions were ordered by the State of Texas to be carried out in Huntsville, Texas. The electric chair was its first means of execution. The first offender to be put to death by electrocution, Charles Reynolds ...view middle of the document...

Texas was the first state to use lethal injection. In July, 1965 death row moved from downtown Huntsville, to the new Ellis unit. When executions resumed, prisoners had to be transported 12 miles to the Huntsville unit for execution. Executions by lethal injection were rare at first, there were only 43 in the first ten years. Because of an escape and death of one prisoner the Ellis unit was deemed not secure enough, and in 1993 prisoners were moved to the Terrell unit in Livingston, about 45 minutes from Huntsville. The prisoners had to be transported to the Huntsville unit for execution. In 2001, this unit was renamed the Polunsky unit.
In 2000 Texas came under National scrutiny because it led the nation in executions and because George W. Bush was running for President. For Bush, the media was creating growing doubts about the ability of the legal system to accurately determine guilt. This turned the Texas governor’s supreme confidence that “no mistakes” have been made in sentencing and execution of 134 men and women in Texas since he took office into a potential political liability. David Axelrod, Democratic consultant said “The problem for Bush is not that he supports the death penalty, but he is behind the curve when he suggests they never make any mistakes in Texas because I don’t think anybody believes that.”
One of the main weapons death-penalty opponents weilded in the attack on capital punishment was the availability of DNA testing which had become much more sophisticated in 2000 than when...

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