A new report from Harvard Law School’s Fair Punishment Project identifies America’s five deadliest head prosecutors out of the thousands that have held that office in the last 40 years. It specifically names Johnny Holmes, who served as the District Attorney of Harris County, Texas from 1979 to 2000; during his tenure, his office secured at least 200 death sentences. Since 2008, by contrast, Harris County juries have sent an average of one person to death row each year.
Today, June 29, marks the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Furman vs. Georgia (1972), which overturned all existing death penalty laws in effect at the time. In Furman, the Justices ruled that the death penalty system, as it was being administered, was arbitrary, capricious, and discriminatory. Justice Potter Stewart said death sentences were as cruel […]
On Thursday, June 16, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA) granted a stay of execution to Robert Roberson, who was scheduled to be put to death Tuesday, June 21 for the 2002 murder of his daughter in Anderson County. Roberson’s attorneys argued that his conviction was based on junk science. Jonathan Silver of the […]
A jury in Bell County recently deadlocked in its deliberations on whether to sentence David Risner to death for the 2014 murder of Little River-Academy Police Chief Lee Dixon. Risner, a former police officer, was convicted of capital murder on June 6, 2016. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
At their 2016 gatherings, the Rio Texas, Central Texas, and Northwest Texas Annual Conferences of the United Methodist Church passed resolutions in support of abolition of the death penalty. All five United Methodist Conferences in Texas have now taken a stand on this issue.