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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 through the state's Texas Constitution and Statutes Page. Print copies are also available in Vernon's Annotated Constitution of the State of Texas.

Texas Legislation

Texas laws on capital punishment and the death penalty are covered in both the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Penal Code. You may find the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Penal Code both in print and on the state's Texas Constitution and Statutes Page.

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 TCDJ at its website. In addition, TCDJ's Annual Reviews from 2005 and on are available on its website. 

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 provides information about its rules and a link to the rules in the Texas Administrative Code on its agency website.

Rules of both agencies are published in the Official Texas Administrative Code, which is located in the Stacks. 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 of the Texas Administrative Code online through the Texas Secretary of State's website.

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 Stacks 210-211.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals' web site includes the capability to search appellate court cases.