Death penalty opponents speak out in favor of bill
Proponents for ending the death penalty in Texas spoke out Tuesday in
support of a bill that would limit the reach of the punishment. State
Representative Harold Dutton of Northeast Houston wants to limit who can
be sentenced to die for a crime. His concern centers around the Texas Law
of Parties which allows the courts to sentence someone to the death
penalty even when they don't kill another person or intend to kill another
Dutton says under this rule at least 12 people — possibly as many as 20
— have been executed.
"Somewhere in the 80's we had a person who was given the death penalty who
didn't kill the person and had no intention to kill but they were on death
row. The person who actually did the killing had actually been released
from prison. That is absolutely unacceptable," Dutton said.
Several family members spoke out in favor of the bill, including the
family of Kenneth Foster who was set to die for a shooting death committed
by another man. He was within days of being executed when a judge decided
he shouldn't be put to death.
People in favor of the Law of Parties argue criminals that don't kill can
be just as responsible for not stopping a death.
Dutton's bill is currently in committee. It is unclear if there is enough
support for it to pass.
(source: KVUE News)