April 19, 2001 (AUSTIN, Texas) – A proposal for a death penalty moratorium is closer to a vote in the Texas Legislature.
On Wednesday, the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee released a resolution for an amendment to the state Constitution to suspend all executions for two years. The measure must receive a two-thirds vote in the Legislature to get on the ballot in November.
Texas has executed far more people than any other state since the 1970s when landmark Supreme Court decisions threw out all existing capital punishment laws while refusing to find the death penalty unconstitutional. Critics say that many of those put to death in the state were tried and convicted under circumstances that did little to safeguard their rights and ensure that innocent people did not end up on death row.
Another measure working its way through the Legislature would bar the death penalty for retarded killers.
Nevada’s Legislature is also considering a moratorium. Illinois adopted one under executive order after Gov. George Ryan, a supporter of capital punishment, said he was concerned about the number of people cleared after spending years on death row.