Studies

A State of Denial: Texas Justice and the Death Penalty

A State of Denial: Texas Justice and the Death Penalty Texas Defender Service*

A STATE OF DENIAL:
TEXAS JUSTICE AND THE DEATH PENALTY

Executive Summary

The nation is embroiled in a debate over the death penalty. Each day brings fresh accounts of racial bias, incompetent counsel, and misconduct committed by police officers or prosecutors in capital cases. The public increasingly questions whether the ultimate penalty can be administered fairly - free from the taint of racism; free from the disgrace of counsel sleeping through a client's trial; free from the risk of executing an innocent person. Support for the death penalty is falling, and across the country, momentum gathers for a moratorium. Even death penalty supporters - such as Illinois Governor George Ryan - have acknowledged the need for fundamental reform.

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