The Death Penalty in Texas (Audio Only)
Created on August 01, 2001
Texas leads the nation in carrying out the death penalty. For that reason, the death penalty in Texas is facing serious scrutiny. During its 2016-17 term alone, the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari in 6 Texas death penalty cases. The Court also made clear its displeasure with the manner in which the Texas death penalty is carried out in a couple of strongly worded opinions. Therefore, it is now more important than ever for lawyers to understand the death penalty process in Texas.
This course, presented by Professor Kenneth Williams, a Professor at South Texas College of Law Houston, will provide an overview of the death penalty in Texas. It will include the type of cases that are eligible for the death penalty and the counties where the death penalty is most aggressively sought. The litigation of death penalty cases is very complex. Williams will explain that process, which starts when an individual is arrested, tried, and sentenced to death. After being sentenced to death, the defendant begins a long journey through the state and federal courts. This journey through the state and federal courts will be explained in detail along with the common complex legal obstacles that defendants sentenced to death must overcome in order to obtain relief, including procedural default, exhaustion, and the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act. Finally, the course will explore some of the recurring problems with the administration of the death penalty in Texas including race, ineffective assistance of counsel, mental health, wrongful convictions, and the growing international opposition to capital punishment.
- Identify crimes punishable by death in Texas
- Understand the differences between litigating a death penalty case and a non-death penalty case
- Review the state and federal appeals process in death penalty cases
- Become acquainted with the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act and how it constrains the ability of inmates to obtain relief during their post conviction proceedings
- Gain insight into some of the recurring issues in death penalty cases, including race, ineffective assistance of counsel, mental health, wrongful convictions, and the growing international opposition to capital punishment
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