Tonight, the State of Texas executed Wesley Ruiz after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to intervene. Ruiz had asked the Court to halt the execution, arguing the Dallas jurors who sentenced him to death in 2008 relied on “overtly racist” and “blatant anti-Hispanic stereotypes” in determining whether Ruiz, a Hispanic man, posed a future danger. Juries in Texas are required to decide whether the defendant poses a continuing threat to society.
Ruiz is the second person put to death in Texas in 2023 and the fourth person nationwide. He is the 62nd person convicted in Dallas County to be put to death. Dallas County falls behind only Harris County in the number of executions and death sentences imposed in Texas.
Texas has six more executions scheduled through the end of April.
Original post: The State of Texas is scheduled to execute Wesley Ruiz tonight, February 1, 2023. Ruiz was convicted and sentenced to death for shooting Dallas police officer Mark Nix in 2007 after a car chase that ensued when Officer Nix attempted to stop Ruiz in his vehicle. An appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court is pending.
According to his clemency application, Ruiz is deeply remorseful for his crime and has worked to better himself during his fourteen years on death row. He has maintained a close relationship with his sons, Wes Ruiz, Jr. and Eric Ruiz, and often provides them with guidance about life and relationships.
The Dallas County jurors who sentenced Ruiz to death in 2008 did not hear any information about the horrific life circumstances he endured as a child, including sexual molestation, severe neglect and abandonment by both parents, physical, psychological, and emotional abuse, homelessness, and impairments from Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, PTSD, complex trauma, and brain damage. Nor did they hear about his experiences with bad actors in the police department, who constantly surveilled him, harassed him, beat him, did not believe him when he was the victim of a crime, and withheld aid to a child in need of medical attention in front of him.
His attorneys failed to present any of this vital mitigating information, which could have provided jurors with an explanation as to Ruiz’s reasoning and impulse control during the offense for which he was convicted.
After hearing about Ruiz’s life circumstances from his current legal team, several of those jurors now say they would have given more weight towards sentencing Ruiz to life in prison without parole instead of the death penalty. Even the foreman of the jury, who used stereotypical, racist language to describe Ruiz, would support commutation of Ruiz’s death sentence.
If the execution proceeds, Ruiz would be the 62nd person convicted in Dallas County to be put to death. Dallas County falls behind only Harris County in the number of executions and death sentences imposed in Texas.