The Texas Democratic Party Platform approved at the State Convention Saturday June 18 , 2016 supports abolishing the death penalty. It also supports establishing a moratorium on executions to study the death penalty. Support for a moratorium is crucial to abolishing the death penalty, because every state that has abolished the death penalty in the modern era has first had either an official or de-facto moratorium before abolishing the death penalty.
“Democrats Against the Death Penalty”, started by Scott Cobb in 2004, held a caucus at the State Convention. Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr spoke about his bill he filed last session to abolish the death penalty and urged everyone to get involved in the upcoming session to ensure his bill gets a committee hearing.
Steven Been spoke about his brother-in-law Jeff Wood, who has a scheduled execution date of August 24, 2016. Wood was convicted under the Law of Parties and sentenced to death even though he did not kill anyone. The room was packed with more than 150 people. Steven had many in the audience wiping their eyes with his emotional and powerfully reasoned appeal to save the life of Jeff Wood. After he laid out his case, in a brilliant move of a natural public speaker he asked everyone in the audience to stand up if they believed Jeff should have his death sentence commuted. Everyone in the room got to their feet. Well done, Steven!
The section on the death penalty states:
Despite 13 death row exonerations in Texas in the last 11 years, the death chamber and its machinery are still fully operational in Texas. Death penalty exonerations have already revealed deep flaws in our State’s criminal justice system. Evidence, including scientific evidence, extensive studies by Innocence Project, major newspapers, and university research, strongly
suggests that Texas has already executed innocent defendants including Carlos DeLuna, Ruben Cantu, and Cameron Todd Willingham. We must take every step to ensure there is never another innocent person executed. Texas Democrats support and urge:
● the passage of legislation that would abolish the death penalty and replace it with the
punishment of life in prison without parole; and
● the Governor, Texas Legislature, and Texas Judiciary and Texas Prosecutors to impose a moratorium on capital punishment while an unbiased and objective study of the entire process, from arrest, conviction/sentencing, appeals at all state levels, and the execution process itself is shown to be reliable and without such grievous failures as have been evident in the recent past.