Saturday, November 16, 2013

Texas Death Penalty Procedures

Texas Death Penalty Procedure
Dudley Sharp

SUMMARY

It is extraordinarily difficult for prosecutors to obtain a death sentence. They must, therefore, be extremely limited in their selection of cases to pursue.

100% of the 48 votes (4 voting issues for each of the 12 jurors), must be against the defendant/murderer, to be given a death sentence.

2%, only 1 of those 48 votes, must be for the defendant/murderer, to remove the death penalty option.

Any juror can use anything they want, personally and subjectively, to spare the murderer a death sentence.

TEXAS CODE OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE, TITLE 1. CODE OF CRIMINAL PROCEDURE, CHAPTER 37. THE VERDICT

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Article 37.071 PROCEDURE IN A CAPITAL CASE

Sec. 1.  If a defendant is found guilty in a capital felony case in which the state does not seek the death penalty, the judge shall sentence the defendant to life imprisonment without parole.

(Sharp: 12 unanimous votes required for guilt)

(Some deleted)


Sec. 2. (b) On conclusion of the presentation of the evidence, the court shall submit the following issues to the jury  (1) whether there is a probability that the defendant would commit criminal acts of violence that would constitute a continuing threat to society;  and  (2) . . .  whether the defendant actually caused the death of the deceased or did not actually cause the death of the deceased but intended to kill the deceased or another or anticipated that a human life would be taken.


(c) The state must prove each issue submitted under Subsection (b) of this article beyond a reasonable doubt, and the jury shall return a special verdict of "yes" or "no" on each issue submitted under Subsection (b) of this Article.


(d) The court shall charge the jury that: (1) in deliberating on the issues submitted under Subsection (b) of this article, it shall consider all evidence admitted at the guilt or innocence stage and the punishment stage, including evidence of the defendant's background or character or the circumstances of the offense that militates for or mitigates against the imposition of the death penalty;  (2) it may not answer any issue submitted under Subsection (b) of this article "yes" unless it agrees unanimously and it may not answer any issue "no" unless 10 or more jurors agree;  and


(Sharp: 24 unanimous votes required to find against the murderer and keep the death penalty option)


(3) members of the jury need not agree on what particular evidence supports a negative answer to any issue submitted under Subsection (b) of this article.


(Sharp: any juror can use any reason they want to vote "no" and to spare the murderer from death, with no other agreement, whatsoever, with any other juror. The chances to escape death are nearly endless.)


(e)(1)  The court shall instruct the jury that if the jury returns an affirmative finding to each issue submitted under Subsection (b) 


(Sharp: That being 24 unanimous "yes" votes against the murderer)


, it shall answer the following issue:


Whether, taking into consideration all of the evidence, including the circumstances of the offense, the defendant's character and background, and the personal moral culpability of the defendant, there is a sufficient mitigating circumstance or circumstances to warrant that a sentence of life imprisonment without parole rather than a death sentence be imposed.


(2)  The court shall: (A)  instruct the jury that if the jury answers that a circumstance or circumstances warrant that a sentence of life imprisonment without parole rather than a death sentence be imposed, the court will sentence the defendant to imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for life without parole; and (B)  charge the jury that a defendant sentenced to confinement for life without parole under this article is ineligible for release from the department on parole.


(Sharp: In making this decision, any juror can use anything they want, personally and subjectively, under (e) (1&2) to spare the murderer a death sentence.)


(f) The court shall charge the jury that in answering the issue submitted under Subsection (e) of this article, the jury:


(1) shall answer the issue "yes" or "no"; (2) may not answer the issue "no" unless it agrees unanimously and may not answer the issue "yes" unless 10 or more jurors agree; (3) need not agree on what particular evidence supports an affirmative finding on the issue;  and (4) shall consider mitigating evidence to be evidence that a juror might regard as reducing the defendant's moral blameworthiness.


(Sharp: There must be 12 jurors voting unanimously "no", to the mitigation consideration or ANY consideration, in order to keep the death penalty option.)


(g)  If the jury returns an affirmative finding on each issue submitted under Subsection (b) and a negative finding on an issue submitted under Subsection (e)(1), the court shall sentence the defendant to death.  If the jury returns a negative finding on any issue submitted under Subsection (b) or an affirmative finding on an issue submitted under Subsection (e)(1) or is unable to answer any issue submitted under Subsection (b) or (e), the court shall sentence the defendant to confinement in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for life imprisonment without parole.


(h) The judgment of conviction and sentence of death shall be subject to automatic review by the Court of Criminal Appeals.


Sharp: 100% of the 48 votes (4 voting issues for each of the 12 jurors), must be against the defendant/murderer to obtain a death sentence.

2%, only 1 of those 48 votes, must be for the defendant/murderer, to remove the death penalty option.

Appeals:


In Texas, appeals take, on average, 11 years prior to execution, and can go through 4 courts: The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (a Supreme Court that only looks at criminal cases), the Federal District Court, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and the US Supreme Court, all of which review both direct appeals and the writ.


1) Texas death  penalty cases are overturned 17% of the time. Nationally, absent Texas, 40% of death penalty cases are overturned within appeals (1).


Texas's due process shows a 58% improvement over the national average.


2)  Texas has executed 45% of those sentenced to death. Nationally, absent Texas, that figure is 11% (1).


Texas' appellate record is 310% better than the national average.


NOTE: Virginia has executed 72% (109) of those so sentenced and has an overturning rate of only 11% (1)  and executes within 7.1 years, on average (2).


Nationally, within appeals, inmates are twice as likely (42%, 3481 cases) to be removed from death row by means other than execution or other death (21%, 1737) (1).


In Virginia, inmates are 4.1 times more likely (76%, 115) to be removed from death row by execution or other death than to be removed by other means (18%, 28) (1).

Why such a disparity? The judges (3).



An example: How bad are California Judges?

As of 2011, 962 murderers have been sent to California's death row, with 13 (1.3%) having been executed, the last 5 averaging 22 years on death row, prior to execution,  and 148 (15%) overturned on appeals.

The 15% overturned on appeal doesn't look so bad, until you realize it is because California judges do all they can to drag out these cases, taking a reported 5 years to hear the first appeals, after sentencing!

That willful mismanagement has cause a terrible backlog, is a huge insult to murder victim survivors, as to justice, and has created a huge burden on taxpayers, all because of this nest of boondoggles, aka judges.

For the last 6 years, these judges have prevented executions based upon California's lethal injection protocol, which mimics the successful use of intravenous medical procedures in countless millions of cases, worldwide, over decades. The lethal overdose of the drugs used in California's protocol have well known, never changing pharmacological properties.

Shocking that these judges haven't stopped all medical intravenous procedures in California, based upon them being cruel and unusual.

California judges are cruel and unusual.

Virginia has executed 70% (110) of their death row murderers, within 7.1 years, Texas 45% (510) within 10.5 years. Since 1976, Texas has executed about 0.8% of her murderers, Virginia 0.7%, California 0.014%.




1) Capital Punishment, 2011, Bureau of Justice Statistics, July 2013,  Table 17, Number sentenced to death and number of removals, by jurisdiction and reason for removal, 1973–2011, page 20

2) Path to execution swifter, more certain in Va. , FRANK GREEN, Richmond Post-Dispatch, December 4, 2011 Page: A1 Section: News Edition: Final 

3) Judges Responsible for Grossly Uneven Executions

http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2013/11/judges-responsible-for-grossly-uneven.html