Rep. Harold Dutton of Houston today filed HB 64, a bill to abolish the death penalty in Texas.
Rep. Dutton also filed HB 147, a bill to prohibit the death penalty for people convicted under the law of parties. Jeff Wood received a stay of execution in August 2016 after many legislators expressed support by writing clemency letters to Gov. Greg Abbott. Wood received a stay of execution from the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals pending further review.
Rep Dutton first filed a bill to abolish the death penalty in 2003, which was the first abolition bill filed in the Texas Legislature in a long time up to that year. Everyone opposed to the death penalty should thank Rep Dutton for his leading role in the effort in the Texas Legislature to end the death penalty.
It was an exciting day back in 2003 when Dutton’s abolition bill was heard in the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee. That was the first time an abolition bill was heard in a Texas legislative committee in the modern era, and maybe ever.
Rep Harold Dutton is pictured speaking at one of our Day of Innocence Lobby Days to Abolish the Death Penalty.
In 2017, we will hold another lobby day to abolish the death penalty. In 2015, during the Texas Lobby Day to Abolish the Death Penalty, we went with two death row exonerees, Ron Keine and Sabrina Butler of Witness to Innocence, and met with State Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr to ask him to file a bill in the senate to abolish the death penalty, which he filed two weeks later. It was the first-time ever a bill to completely abolish the death penalty had been filed in the Texas Senate.