death penalty news—-TEXAS

March 28


Progress, pitfalls in Legislature

This newspaper has steadily advocated for specific quality-of-life issues
on a city-, region- and statewide scale. The current session of the
Legislature is an opportunity to make a mark in each area.

With the lawmaking session past the halfway point, it's time for an
assessment of how things stand and the work that lies ahead in Austin. . .
. .

Abolishing the death penalty

Concern over capital punishment has prompted formation of a special House
subcommittee to hear more than three dozen reform bills. It is chaired by
Mesquite Rep. Robert Miklos, a former prosecutor who is giving the
measures a careful airing.

Even with predominant pro-death-penalty sentiment in the Capitol, we trust
lawmakers will find merit in bills forbidding joint trials for capital
murder co-defendants and gamesmanship that pits one against the other to
secure a death sentence. They should also support a bill allowing a
condemned prisoner to witness his last reprieve being decided and one that
guards against executing the mentally disabled.

Texas, the nation's leading execution state, also leads the nation in
number of DNA exonerations. That ought to chill to the bone, so much so
that lawmakers get behind legislation for a hiatus in Huntsville's death
chamber until the entire capital punishment system can be dissected.

(source: Editorial, Dallas Morning News)