2ab2e395e49a92feb1912fbe8c590c9eState Rep. Terry Canales has filed HB 316, a bill to prohibit death sentences in cases in which the defendant is convicted under the law of parties.  Last August 19, Rep. Canales sent a letter to Governor Greg Abbott supporting clemency for Jeff Wood, who was sentenced to death under the law of parties. Before Gov. Abbott could act on the clemency request, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted Wood a stay of execution. Wood remains under a death sentence pending further judicial action. Website for Terry Canales. Terry Canales on Twitter. Terry Canales on Facebook.
85R2323 KJE-D
By: Canales H.B. No. 316
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
AN ACT
relating to the extent of a defendant's criminal responsibility for
the conduct of another in capital felony cases.
       BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
       SECTION 1.  Section 1, Article 37.071, Code of Criminal
Procedure, is amended to read as follows:
       Sec. 1.  (a)  If a defendant is found guilty in a capital
felony case in which the state does not seek the death penalty, the
judge shall sentence the defendant to life imprisonment or to life
imprisonment without parole as required by Section 12.31, Penal
Code.
       (b)  A defendant who is found guilty in a capital felony case
only as a party under Section 7.02, Penal Code, may not be sentenced
to death, and the state may not seek the death penalty in any case in
which the defendant's liability is based solely on that section.
       SECTION 2.  Sections 2(b), (c), (d), and (g), Article
37.071, Code of Criminal Procedure, are amended to read as follows:
       (b)  On conclusion of the presentation of the evidence, the
court shall instruct [submit the following issues to] the jury to
determine [:
             [(1)]  whether there is a probability that the
defendant would commit criminal acts of violence that would
constitute a continuing threat to society[; and
             [(2)     in cases in which the jury charge at the guilt or
innocence stage permitted the jury to find the defendant guilty as a
party under Sections 7.01 and 7.02, Penal Code, whether the
defendant actually caused the death of the deceased or did not
actually cause the death of the deceased but intended to kill the
deceased or another or anticipated that a human life would be
taken].
       (c)  The state must prove the [each] issue submitted under
Subsection (b) [of this article] beyond a reasonable doubt, and the
jury shall return a special verdict of "yes" or "no" on that [each]
issue [submitted under Subsection (b) of this Article].
       (d)  The court shall charge the jury that:
             (1)  in deliberating on the issue [issues] submitted
under Subsection (b) [of this article], it shall consider all
evidence admitted at the guilt or innocence stage and the
punishment stage, including evidence of the defendant's background
or character or the circumstances of the offense that militates for
or mitigates against the imposition of the death penalty;
             (2)  it may not answer the [any] issue submitted under
Subsection (b) [of this article] "yes" unless it agrees unanimously
and it may not answer the [any] issue "no" unless 10 or more jurors
agree; and
             (3)  members of the jury need not agree on what
particular evidence supports a negative answer to the [any] issue
submitted under Subsection (b) [of this article].
       (g)  If the jury returns an affirmative finding on the [each]
issue submitted under Subsection (b) and a negative finding on the
[an] issue submitted under Subsection (e)(1), the court shall
sentence the defendant to death.  If the jury returns a negative
finding on the [any] issue submitted under Subsection (b) or an
affirmative finding on the [an] issue submitted under Subsection
(e)(1) or is unable to answer an [any] issue submitted under
Subsection (b) or (e), the court shall sentence the defendant to
confinement in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for life
imprisonment without parole.
       SECTION 3.  Section 2(e)(1), Article 37.071, Code of
Criminal Procedure, is amended to read as follows:
       (e)(1)  The court shall instruct the jury that if the jury
returns an affirmative finding to the [each] issue submitted under
Subsection (b), it shall determine whether [answer the following
issue:
       [Whether], taking into consideration all of the evidence,
including the circumstances of the offense, the defendant's
character and background, and the personal moral culpability of the
defendant, there is a sufficient mitigating circumstance or
circumstances to warrant that a sentence of life imprisonment
without parole rather than a death sentence be imposed.
       SECTION 4.  Section 2, Article 37.0711, Code of Criminal
Procedure, is amended to read as follows:
       Sec. 2.  (a)  If a defendant is found guilty in a case in
which the state does not seek the death penalty, the judge shall
sentence the defendant to life imprisonment.
       (b)  A defendant who is found guilty in a capital felony case
only as a party under Section 7.02, Penal Code, may not be sentenced
to death, and the state may not seek the death penalty in any case in
which the defendant's liability is based solely on that section.
       SECTION 5.  The change in law made by this Act applies to a
criminal proceeding that commences on or after the effective date
of this Act. A criminal proceeding that commences before the
effective date of this Act is governed by the law in effect when the
proceeding commenced, and the former law is continued in effect for
that purpose.
       SECTION 6.  This Act takes effect September 1, 2017.
   

State Rep Terry Canales Clemency Letter for Jeff Wood by Scott Cobb on Scribd

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