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Texas Death Penalty Law

Resources and information about the death penalty law in Texas; also includes some more general resources

Constitution, Statutes, & Regulations

United States Constitution

The Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution are often used in discussing the death penalty. A copy of the Constitution may be found in Black's Law Dictionary (KF 156 B53 2014). You may also review a copy at the U.S. Senate's web site or at the website of the National Constitution Center.

Federal legislation

Title 18, Crimes and Criminal Procedure, of the United States Code will be useful for researching information on the death penalty. The code is available in United States Code (USC), United States Code Annotated (USCA), and United States Code Service (USCS), all located in Stack 204 on the 2nd floor. In addition, a copy of Title 18 is available online through Cornell's Legal Information Institute.

Federal regulations

The United States Sentencing Commission is an independent federal agency whose mission is to recommend effective guidelines for the federal criminal justice system. These recommendations are published in the Federal Sentencing Guidelines Manual, which is located in the stacks at KF 9685 A875

Federal Case Law

Copies of decisions made by the United States Supreme Court, the Courts of Appeals, or the District Courts regarding death penalty cases are available in many locations. To find death penalty cases, you will want to look in secondary sources. One good place to start is in the West's Federal Practice Digest, under the Key Number Homicide 355 (Death Penalty). In paper, the digest is found on the 2nd floor in Stack 216.

Capital Cases Outline: United States Supreme Court (KF 9227 C2 M32 1997) summarizes national cases which involve the death penalty. Death Penalty Cases: Leading U.S. Supreme Court Cases on Capital Punishment (KF 9227 C2 L38 2002) identifies those most prominent cases that have been decided by the United States Supreme Court.

The Criminal Law Reporter (KF 9615 C7) is a weekly publication that provides a survey and analysis, and court decisions.

The full texts of federal cases are available in the following locations:

Supreme Court decisions

Print copies of the U.S. Supreme Court Digest Lawyers' EditionUnited States Reports, and West's Supreme Court Reporter are located in Stacks 212.

Historic - United States Supreme Court cases between 1937 and 1975 can be found at

Recent - Available through the Web at and the official site of the U.S. Supreme Court.

U.S. Court of Appeals decisions

Federal Reporter, West's Federal Reporter 2d, and West's Federal Reporter 3d are located in Stacks 213 to 214. These reporters contain those cases that are determined before the United States Courts of Appeals.

U.S. District Courts from 1789

Tarlton Law Library also has copies of the West's Federal Supplement, West's Federal Supplement 2d, and West's Federal Supplement 3d, which contain federal district court cases. Federal district court cases before 1932 are found in the Federal Reporter. Copies of these reporters are located in Stacks 213 to 215.