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Capital punishment in texas

The meaning of «capital punishment in texas»

Capital punishment is a legal penalty in the state of Texas, part of the United States.

In 1982, the state became the first jurisdiction in the world to carry out an execution by lethal injection, when it executed Charles Brooks Jr.. It was the first execution in the state since 1964.

Texas, which is the second most populous state of the Union, has executed 573 offenders from the U.S. capital punishment resumption in 1976 (beginning in 1982 with the Brooks execution) to September 28, 2021 (the execution of Rick Allan Rhoades), more than a third of the national total.[1]

The first execution in Texas occurred in 1819 with the execution of a white male, George Brown, for piracy.[2] In 1840, a free black male, Henry Forbes, was executed for jail-breaking.[3] Prior to Texas statehood in 1846, eight executions—all by hanging—were carried out.[2]

Upon statehood, hanging would be the method used for almost all executions until 1924. Hangings were administered by the county where the trial took place. The last hanging in the state was that of Nathan Lee, a man convicted of murder and executed in Angleton, Brazoria County, Texas on August 31, 1923.[4] The only other method used at the time was execution by firing squad, which was used for three Confederate deserters during the American Civil War as well as a man convicted of attempted rape in 1863.[5] In 1853 the first execution in Houston took place in public at Founder's Cemetery in the Fourth Ward; initially the cemetery was the execution site, but post-1868 executions took place in the jail facilities.[6]

Texas changed its execution laws in 1923, requiring the executions be carried out on the electric chair and that they take place at the Texas State Penitentiary at Huntsville (also known as Huntsville Unit). From 1928 until 1965, this was also home to the state's male death row. The first executions on the electric chair were on February 8, 1924, when Charles Reynolds, Ewell Morris, Harris Washington, Haden Cochran, and Melvin Johnson had their death sentences carried out. The five executions were the most carried out on a single day in the state. The state would conduct multiple executions on a single day on several other occasions, the last being on August 9, 2000. Since then, the state has not executed more than one person on a single day, though there is no law prohibiting it. A total of 361 people were electrocuted in Texas, with the last being Joseph Johnson on July 30, 1964.

The United States Supreme Court decision in Furman v. Georgia (408 U.S. 238 (1972)), which declared Georgia's "unitary trial" procedure (in which the jury was asked to return a verdict of guilt or innocence and, simultaneously, determine whether the defendant would be punished by death or life imprisonment) to be unconstitutional on the grounds that it was a cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution, essentially negated all death penalty sentences nationwide.

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