Analysts: Donít expect big changes
One of the many issues the Texas State Legislature will be considering during the session that kicked off yesterday will be the death penalty.
A number of reform bills will be considered, one of which would create an innocence commission. Analyst Bill Miller explained to KTRH why reform is being discussed.
“There have been some cases lately that have raised the ire of advocates for change and I think made a stronger case for change,” Miller said.
Pro-death penalty activist Dudley Sharp told KTRH there's no need for an innocence commission.
“Overwhelmingly these cases are discovered during the appellate process. We already have an innocence commission. It’s called the appellate process and judicial review,” Sharp explained.
But Jeff Blackburn of the Innocence Project of Texas says minor changes aren't what he's looking for.
“We don’t even need to have a death penalty here. It’s stupid. It’s barbaric. It’s backward. Better states than us have already decided it’s a bad idea. I think nationally we are going to see more states joining the process of abandoning the death penalty,” Blackburn explained.
But Miller says that Blackburn and his supporters aren't going to get what they want.
“It’s a conservative legislature. We’re a strong death penalty state. I’d say it’s a big of a long shot. It will be hard to get it done. That’s not to say that it can’t be done,” Miller said.
A recent poll done by the Texas Tribune found that 73 percent either somewhat or strongly supported the death penalty here in Texas the way it is.
Hear the podcast with Matt Patrick and Houston's Morning News as he talks with Blackburn and Sharp: