As we first reported a few weeks ago, the number of new death sentences is continuing the decline that it has been following in the past several years. In 2010, eight people have been sentenced to death in Texas, which is one fewer than in 2009. 50 percent of the people sentenced to death in Texas in 2010 are African-Americans and a total of 62.5 percent are people of color, 37.5 percent are white.
One reason for fewer death sentences in recent years is that juries are more reluctant to sentence people to death because they have heard of so many cases of innocent people being exonerated (most recently Anthony Graves) and other problems in the system, so they prefer the alternative of life without parole. Prosecutors are also seeking death much less than in years past because they know how expensive it is to seek a death sentence and they know that juries are increasingly more inclined to choose life in prison over death. State Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., D-Brownsville, the author of Texas’ life-without-parole law, has said prosecutors are trying to blame LWOP for their troubles getting Texans to trust a scandal-ridden system, but Lucio has said “it isn’t life without parole that has weakened the death penalty. It is a growing lack of belief that our system is fair.”
Texas Still Leads in Number of Executions in 2010
Texas still leads the nation in number of executions, with about 38 percent of all executions carried out in the U.S. in 2010.
In 2010, five people in Texas received stays of execution. Among the five was Hank Skinner, who received two stays of execution (one was a c , the other was a major issue from the U.S.Supreme Court)
- 2010 –8 (As of December 13, 2010)