If you are under investigation for, or facing criminal charges for a homicide
crime in Texas, you will be
very interested in learning about the state’s death penalty law and how it may relate
to your case.
For starters, we want to define
capital felonies in Texas because they are relevant to the death penalty. A capital felony
is where a defendant
intentionally takes someone else’s life, but under specific circumstances, which
we’ll describe below.
Essentially, if a defendant is found guilty or convicted of a capital felony,
he or she may be subject to the death penalty. Under the following circumstances,
a defendant may face the death penalty in Texas:
- Murdering a judge;
Murder for hire;
- Murder while escaping from prison;
- Murdering a child under the age of six;
- Murdering multiple people;
- Murdering a police officer or firefighter in the line of duty;
- Murdering a correctional officer;
- Murdering while serving a life sentence; or
Murder while committing specific felonies, such as
arson, aggravated rape, burglary,
robbery, and kidnapping;
In Texas, juvenile offenders are not subject to the death penalty; a defendant
must have committed the crime while they were 18 or older to be subject
to the death penalty.
Appealing the Death Penalty
Suppose a defendant is found guilty; once the verdict is rendered, the
defendant’s case is automatically appealed to the Court of Criminal Appeals.
If the defendant loses his or her case in the Court of Criminal Appeals
he or she has the option of appealing their case to the U.S. Circuit Court
of Appeals. Lastly, the defendant can take their case to the United States
When the defendant has exhausted all of their options, they have a last
resort; the Governor of Texas may be able to grant clemency (mercy, lenience)
to the defendant, but under limited circumstances.
Up until 1923, Texas executed its death row prisoners by hanging. From
1924 to 1977 the state executed prisoners by the electric chair. Since
1977, Texas has been executing prisoners by means of lethal injection.
Need a Plano
criminal defense lawyer for a capital felony case?
Contact The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC today!