Entries tagged with “Texas Defender Service

Facts & Research

New Voices


Mar 21, 2024

Discussions with DPIC Podcast: Retired Judge Elsa Alcala on the Death Penalty in Texas

In this month’s episode of Discussions with DPIC, Managing Director Anne Holsinger speaks with Judge Elsa Alcala, who served on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals from 2011 to 2018. In addi­tion to serv­ing as a judge at the appeals and tri­al lev­el, she worked as a pros­e­cu­tor, crim­i­nal defense attor­ney, and most recent­ly as a jus­tice-reform lob­by­ist dur­ing her three-decade career in crim­i­nal law. She shares how these expe­ri­ences have informed her per­spec­tive on the death penal­ty and iden­ti­fies rec­om­men­da­tions for crim­i­nal legal reforms. 

Policy Issues



Feb 28, 2024

New Report from Texas Defender Service Examines Ongoing Racial Disparities in Harris County Death Penalty Practices and Recommends Reforms

A new report from the Texas Defender Service (TDS) titled Arbitrary and Capricious: Examining Racial Disparities in Harris County’s Pursuit of Death Sentences” was pub­lished on February 22, 2024 and is the lat­est in series of TDS reports on use of the death penal­ty in Texas. The report focus­es on Harris County’s out­lier death penal­ty prac­tices, both with­in the state and nation­al­ly. While more than half of the 254 coun­ties in Texas have nev­er imposed a death sen­tence, Harris County is respon­si­ble for most of the state’s cur­rent death row…