Saturday, June 18, 2005

Texas - Life without Parole

Wow. First the Supreme Court and now the State of Texas does something extraordinary (for it anyway). Governor Rick Perry signed a law this week that will allow juries to choose a sentence of life without possibility of parole instead of the death penalty. Prior to this law, Texas only had two options in "capital" crimes: death or life with the possibility of parole after 40 years. Jurors who are afraid that a violent criminal will be released and offend again and choose the death penalty because to them it is the lesser of two bad options (even if they think the defendant does not deserve death), will now be less stuck between a rock and a hard place. (see Kelsey Patterson for a good example of this)

As you all know, I'm a big advocate of the life without parole option. I'm the first one to say that I think most convicted capital murderers (provided there were no other constitutional issues with the conviction and no evidence of actual innocence) should be locked away for the remainder of their natural lives. There are some crimes that capital punishment jurisdictions find worthy of death that I do not think fall into the category of necessitating life without parole (in certain circumstances), but overall, I think life without possibility of parole is the most appropriate option.

Huh...I wonder if I am still on hiatus...

Texas withdraws parole option in murder cases

3 comments:

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Honestly, I dislike the new law. I think they should have left all three options, including life with the possibility of parole, which only comes, anyway, after 40 years in Texas, and then only if a judge allows it. Not all capital murder cases are as heinous as the worst, especially in Texas where we prosecute so many as capital murders. The only reason the prosecutors let this pass was they wanted to give LWOP to juveniles, who the Supremes have said they can't execute. To me, that just seems mean-spirited and wrong.

CarrieJ said...

Aha! Thank you for the comment, Scott. Truth is, I didn't read enough about the law to know that it removed the life with parole option. I prefer that there be all three as well. Although, I think I like this option better than death or life with possibility of parole. I'll have to ponder that some more.

Ellen said...

I'm so glad about this new law! And in Texas no less! As far as I know, murderers were just about never let out on parole in Texas anyway, so hopefully removing the option of life with parole won't be a negative. I hope the new law decreases the number of people condemned to death in TX.