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The Tarlton Law Library is open at this time with access limited to current UT Law students, faculty, and staff. Members of the UT Austin community unaffiliated with the law school may contact the Circulation Desk (, 512-471-7726) for assistance with accessing library resources. Online reference services are also available. Please see the Tarlton Reopening FAQs and the Texas Law Fall 2020 Reopening Plan for additional details

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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. 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 the U.S. House of Representative's Office of Law Revision Counsel's United States Code.

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.

Federal Case Law at Tarlton

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 print, the digest is found on the 2nd floor in Stack 216.

For information about how to find case law for free online, view Tarlton's Finding a Case guide.

General Resources

Full Text

Supreme Court Decisions

Print copies of the U.S. Supreme Court Digest Lawyers' Edition, United States Reports, and West's Supreme Court Reporter are located in Stacks 212. Supreme Court opinions are also available, including from the Library of Congress and the Supreme Court.

U.S. Courts of Appeals Decisions

Federal ReporterWest's Federal Reporter 2d, and West's Federal Reporter 3d 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.