State of Texas executes Tracy Beatty

On November 9, 2022, the State of Texas executed Tracy Beatty. He was convicted of killing his mother, Carolyn Click, in Smith County in 2003. Beatty faced execution in March 2020 but received a stay from the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals because of the health crisis created by COVID-19. He also had an execution date in 2015. 

Original post: On Friday, November 4, 2022, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied Tracy Beatty’s motion for a stay of execution and dismissed his latest appeals, including his claim that a juror’s failure to disclose that she knew the victim in the case (Beatty’s mother) deprived him of a fair trial.

Beatty also filed a lawsuit against prison officials alleging his execution could be unconstitutional due to improper mental health evaluations, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that federal courts lack jurisdiction to order the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) to remove his handcuffs during neuropsychological testing. The Fifth Circuit dismissed his motion for a stay of execution as moot.

Beatty sought a stay of execution from the U.S. Supreme Court. His request referenced a mental health crisis he experienced this year, which led his attorney to schedule evaluations by mental health experts. According to the motion, at some point last year, TDCJ began requiring a court order to have handcuffs removed during mental health evaluations. Previously, death row prisoners’ handcuffs were removed as a matter of course during these evaluations without a court order. Because TDCJ refused to remove Beatty’s handcuffs (and opposed the issuance of a court order), the experts were only able to complete limited, preliminary evaluations. His attorney argued that this interference rendered Beatty unable to present available information in support of clemency. This morning, the Court denied Beatty’s application for a stay and denied his cert petition.

At this point, we are not aware of any other pending appeals.

Read more about the case from the Texas Tribune.

If the execution proceeds, Beatty will be the fourth person put to death by the State of Texas in 2022 and the fourteenth person who was convicted in Smith County.