Thursday, December 27, 2007

“Texas — it’s a whole other country” (for killing people)

The Texas slogan literally rings true, sickeningly, in the area of capital punishment. Texas has executed more people this year than all other death penalty states combined. Of course, when you have a state with an appellate jurist, Judge Sharon Keller of the Court of Criminal Appeals, who deliberately closes up shop at 5 p.m. to prevent a death penalty appeal that is based on an expected Supreme Court review of lethal injection, that says something about the state’s judicial system, as does this:

The rate at which Texas sentences people to death is not especially high given its murder rate. But once a death sentence is imposed there, said Richard C. Dieter, the executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, prosecutors, state and federal courts, the pardon board and the governor are united in moving the process along. “There’s almost an aggressiveness about carrying out executions,” said Dieter, whose organization opposes capital punishment.

The rest of the nation is seeing the light, more and more, but not Texas.

And, I wouldn’t hold my breath.