In 1977, the Supreme Court declared in the 7-2 Coker v. Georgia decision that applying the death penalty in rape cases was forbidden by the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as cruel and unusual punishment because the sentence was disproportionate to the crime. Coker resulted in the removal of twenty inmates -- three whites and 17 blacks -- awaiting execution on rape convictions from death rows around the country.
From the 2006 Texas GOP Platform:
"Capital Punishment – We believe that properly applied capital punishment is legitimate, is an effective deterrent, and should be swift and unencumbered. When applied to the crime of murder, it raises the value of human life.
Sexual Assault – We believe that rape is a heinous crime for which punishment options should include death."