Today, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to consider the case of Carlos Ayestas, a Honduran national who was sentenced to death in Harris County, Texas in 1997. This is the third death penalty case out of Harris County to be granted cert by the Justices in the last year. See the statement from Ayestas’ attorneys […]
On November 8, 2016, voters did more than just elect a new president. They voted for district attorneys, sheriffs, criminal justice reform legislation, and, in three states, the death penalty. In Nebraska, 59.6% of voters chose to repeal the abolition law passed in 2015. Oklahoma’s State Question 776 passed, protecting the death penalty through the […]
A new report from the Fair Punishment Project at Harvard Law School offers an in-depth look at how the death penalty is operating in the small handful of counties across the country that are still using it. Of the 3,143 county or county equivalents in the United States, only 16—or one half of one percent—imposed five […]
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.
Advocates and supporters from across Texas will gather on Saturday, February 20, 2016 at Unity of Houston for the 18th Annual Conference of the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (TCADP). This event, At the Epicenter of the Death Penalty, will feature workshops, a keynote address, and a panel discussion about the shifting death penalty landscape in Texas and Harris County.
Yesterday, Alfred Dewayne Brown became the 13th person in Texas and the 154th nationwide to be released from death row due to evidence of his wrongful conviction. The Harris County District Attorney’s Office dismissed the capital murder charges against him after determining there was not enough evidence to re-try him for two murders that took place at a cash-checking business in Houston in 2003.
This evening, September 10th, the State of Texas executed Willie Trottie. A Harris County jury sentenced him to death for the 1993 murders of his former girlfriend Barbara Canada, and her brother, Titus, at the Canada family home in Houston. Canada’s mother and sister also were wounded in the attack. The execution took place under a shroud […]
On February 5, 2014, the State of Texas carried out its second execution of the year, putting Suzanne Basso to death for the 1998 murder of Louis “Buddy” Musso. Basso was convicted in 1999 in Harris County. Prosecutors accused her of luring Musso, an intellectually disabled man, to Texas after meeting Basso and her son, J.D. O’Malley in New Jersey. Five co-defendants, including O’Malley, were convicted of playing a role in the murder.