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Texas Death Penalty Law

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

Texas Constitution, Statutes, & Regulations

Texas Constitution

Article 5, section 5 of the Texas Constitution specifically discusses death penalty cases. Copies of the constitution are available on the Web at http://www.constitution.legis.state.tx.us/.  Print copies are also available in Vernon's Annotated Constitution of the State of Texas (Stacks, Reference, and Microfiche: KFT 1230.5 V4 A1)

Texas legislation

Texas laws on capital punishment and the death penalty are covered in both the

You may also find the Code of Criminal Procedure on the Web at http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/. The Penal Code can be found online there as well. 

Texas regulations

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) is the agency responsible for incarcerating individuals who have been convicted of a capital felony and sentenced with the death penalty. You may find more information about the TDCJ at its web site.  In addition, Tarlton maintains copies of the TDCJ's Annual Report at HV 8363 A2.

The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles is responsible for recommending and supervising the parole of eligible inmates. In cases involving the death penalty, this Board is the one to recommend to the Governor that a 30-day reprieve should be granted. The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles publishes its rules on the agency web site.

Rules of both agencies are also published in the Official Texas Administrative Code, which is located in the Stacks (KFT 1234.5 O43). Title 37 Chapter 5 relates to the Board of Pardons and Paroles, and Chapter 6 contains rules from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. You may also access a copy through the Internet at http://www.sos.state.tx.us/tac/index.shtml.

Texas Cases

West's South Western Reporter contains most of the Texas case law on capital punishment decisions (Stack 209). To find death penalty cases in the reporters, use secondary resources to help you find the citations. One good place to start is West's Texas Digest, under the Key Number Homicide 355 (Death Penalty). The digest is found in Stack 210.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals' web site includes the capability to search the appellate court index of capital punishment decisions.