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 GOP platform 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.
Parts of the Texas GOP platform that address the death penalty are:
Sexual Assault – Punishment options for rape should include death.The 2008 Texas Democratic Party platform endorses the creation of a Texas Capital Punishment Commission to study the Texas death penalty system and a moratorium on executions pending action on the Commission’s findings. It also endorses the creation of an Innocence Commission, among other reforms.
Capital Punishment – Properly applied capital punishment is legitimate, is an effective deterrent, and should be swift and unencumbered.
We believe that human life is sacred, created in the image of God. Life begins at the moment of fertilization and ends at the point of natural death. All innocent human life must be protected.
We support enactment of a homicide-by-abuse statute that provides punishment for abusing a child to death without intent of killing.