Merriam-Webster defines capital punishment as, “punishment by death; the practice of killing people as punishment for serious crimes.” While not every state practices the death penalty (32 states enforce the death penalty), Texas is one state that does. According to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, between 1819 and 1923, hanging was the state’s “means of execution.” In 1923, Texas authorized the use of the electric chair, electrocuting its first offender, Charles Reynolds of Red River County, on February 8, 1924. On the same day, four other offenders were executed through electrocution. On June 29, 1972, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that the death penalty was “cruel and unusual punishment.” At that time, Texas had 45 men sitting on death row and each of their sentences were reduced to life sentences by the Texas Governor, but in 1973, the Texas Penal Code was revised, allowing for the death penalty. Effective January 1, 1974, executes were resumed. Since 1977, Texas has executed prisoners through lethal injection.
Capital Murder in Texas
What types of crimes are considered capital murder or capital offenses in Texas? Here are some, but not all of the capital offenses:
- Murder of a police officer or fireman while they are on duty.
- Murdering while committing or attempting to commit arson, kidnapping, burglary, robbery, obstruction, retaliation, aggravated sexual assault, or a terroristic threat.
- Murder for hire.
- Murder while escaping or attempting to escape a jail or prison.
- Murder of a correctional employee while incarcerated.
- Murder while incarcerated for a murder conviction.
- Murdering more than one person during a criminal episode.
- Murdering a child under 10-years-of-age.
“Texas leads the nation in the number of executions since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. California, Florida, Texas, and Pennsylvania have the largest death row populations,” according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
Are you facing criminal charges for a capital offense in Plano or Dallas? If so,contact The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC at once for help.