The 2010 platform of the Texas Republican Party endorses the death penalty for people convicted of rape.
In 1977, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 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.
The 2010 Texas GOP platform also says that “all innocent human life must be protected”, but it does not address how to protect innocent people from being sentenced to death or executed, which is what likely happened to Todd Willingham.
The sentences in the Texas GOP platform that address the death penalty are:
Sexual Assault – Punishment options for rape should include death.
Capital Punishment – Properly applied capital punishment is legitimate, is an effective deterrent, and should be swift and unencumbered.