"America is a country of second chances" Rick Perry said in a recent television interview. His declaration was very statesmanlike, but he was referring to himself and his possible repeat performance as a presidential candidate. If he truly believed in the concept of second chances, things might be ... More >>
Robert James Campbell, whose 1991 murder conviction in Harris County sent him to death row, won't die tonight (and won't be long on death row if his lawyers can help it). A U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals judge issued a stay of execution so that Campbells' lawyers could work on an appeal. The ju ... More >>
According to a report from the Death Penalty Information Center, there have been only 39 executions in the United States this year, only the second time that number has been below 40 since 1994 and down 4 from last year's 43. This is additionally a decline of 60 percent since 1999 and the number of ... More >>
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has denied Duane Buck's appeal for a new sentencing, meaning an execution date can be set if the Harris County District Attorney's Office chooses to seek an execution date. Buck was sentenced to death by lethal injection in 1997 for the murders of his ex-girlfrie ... More >>
It's one thing to be the people that make the drugs used in lethal injections, but it's a horse of a different color for other people to know about it. At least that's what Hair Balls gathers from the reaction of the head of the Woodlands Compounding Pharmacy after it was revealed that his company ... More >>
Texas, the state with the most executions under its belt since reinstating the death penalty in 1976, is solving a shortage on execution drugs by having a Houston compounding pharmacy make the drugs required for lethal injection, according to the Associated Press. Texas and other death penalty stat ... More >>
Harris County is responsible for 115 executions since 1976 -- by far the highest driver of capital punishment -- but taxpayers statewide have to bear the burden of the costly appeals process, according to a new study by an anti-death penalty group. The Washington, D.C.-based Death Penalty Informati ... More >>
There are a number of legitimate criticisms that can be levied at the American Bar Association: it has accredited far too many law schools such that there are more lawyers than there are jobs, it can be self important and it skews towards the "elites" in the legal profession. That said, it is still ... More >>
During Duane Buck's 1997 murder trial in Harris County, a psychologist told the jury that Buck was more likely to be a danger to society because he was black. This would be a huge deal in pretty much any legal situation, but the statement had more direct life or death ramifications in Buck's trial ... More >>
Not to brag, but I've got a copy of the new Hates album, People's Temple, and it is (as usual) a fantastic little CD that every punk fan in Houston should own. We're still waiting on a confirmed release party at Cactus, but before that happens there's a song on the disc we want to talk about, "Do th ... More >>
During Monday's sentencing hearing for Brian Kerstetter, the 33-year-old white male who was found guilty of targeting a random African-American man at a downtown Houston bus stop, the prison-bound Kerstetter couldn't help himself from blasting a certain loved/loathed NFL franchise. "I'm not a hate ... More >>
Texas is still doing its partAmerica, you just ain't the criminal-killin' place you used to be. A new report from the Death Penalty Information Center says that for the first time since capital punishment was reinstated in 1976, less than 100 executions took place in the U.S. There have bee ... More >>
Death Row cases take another hit.George C. Denkowski, the forensic psychologist who's been driving capital-murder defense lawyers crazy for years, is no longer allowed to send convicts to Death Row. Denkowski was reprimanded by the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists and agreed n ... More >>
Does Cleve Foster deserve a death at least as humane as that of a lizard? The ACLU thinks so.The pets of those on death row would be treated more humanely than their owners, if the animals were sitting in the execution chamber instead of them. According to a report released by the American C ... More >>
She ain't getting as much use as she's used toHarris County, you used to be cool. You sent more people to Death Row than most countries. And were damn proud of it, too. Now, the death penalty is a forgotten memory of another time, the go-go `80s and `90s when brash prosecutors racked up exec ... More >>
Photo by Craig MalisowDavid Kaczynski hasn't heard from Ted latelyOnce you become forever known as "The Unabomber's Brother," there are probably two ways you can go: you can do your best to hide (say, maybe move to a cozy, isolated cabin in Montana?) or you can use your position to further a caus ... More >>
Texas doesn't make rookie mistakes when it comes to the death penaltyThe Arizona Republic reports today that a planned execution in Ohio almost had to delay a recent execution because of a shortage of thiopental sodium, the drug used for lethal injections. Arizona, it said, might be unable to do ... More >>
Photo by Katharine ShilcuttA death penalty protest march was held last week in downtown Austin.In its 2009 Death Penalty and Executions report released today, Amnesty International calls Texas the "worst offender," because -- with 24 executions -- it leads the country in the number of people ... More >>
Amnesty International has just begun a 200-minute vigil outside the Harris County Criminal Courthouse to protest the upcoming 200th execution under Governor Rick Perry.The original rally title, "Help Rick Perry Win The GOP Primary," was apparently discarded.But holding an anti-death-penalty vigil in ... More >>
We first broke the news in October; the Houston Chronicle noticed it earlier this month, and now Time magazine has discovered it: There will be no one sent to Death Row from Harris County this year.Which, in historical terms, is kind of like saying Texas high schools will not be sending anyone to bi ... More >>
Can you hear me now? Even though I'm calling from Death Row? You can if you are Richard Tabler, currently waiting to be executed for killing two people. TDCJ investigators are looking into how Tabler got a cell phone and "use it to call a Houston senator, among others," as the agency's statement s ... More >>
Harris County is known as a pipeline for Death Row, but that changed this year. The county hasn't had a death penalty conviction in 2008, the first time that's happened since 1977, the year capital punishment was reinstated and Chuck Rosenthal was hired as an assistant district attorney. The depa ... More >>
On the World Day Against the Death Penalty, here in the state-sanctioned-execution capital of the nation, you might expect an elaborate protest or demonstration, like in Japan or India where protesters wore black execution hoods with nooses around their necks and shirts that said “Save Me." There ... More >>
Martin Draughon returns to the clink after becoming a test case for alleged flaws in GPS monitoring devices
The next time you’re at a party or out with friends and feel like bringing the conversation to a standstill, try bringing up the death penalty. It’s the rhetorical equivalent of announcing you’ve got the Hanta virus or, you know, maybe Osama bin Laden isn’t all that evil. But Dallas-raised A ... More >>
We were really excited when condemned killer Patrick Knight announced his campaign to find a great joke to tell before he gets the needle tonight. And we were equally bummed when he rejected the list we sent in, which was chock-full of knee-slappin’ knock-knocks, puns, and a classic about a one-le ... More >>
Julie Green's "Last Supper" will take away your appetite
Our solution for saving Texas's claim to capital punishment fame
Houston had one of its most shocking race murders 45 years ago. But exactly whose tragedy was it?
Texas Defender Service
Recent debacles demonstrate why District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal needs more than a moustache to match the legacy of Johnny Holmes
The judiciary starts scrambling after state cuts in visiting judges
Texas's impressive new prison museum engages in a little escapism of its own
Plus: Olympic Bid; Allah 1, Christ 0; Paris Is Burning?
Just who is a victim? After flexing its muscles to reform the justice system, the victims rights movement suffers growing pains over divisive issues.
There's little doubt that Johnnie Bernal was not a really good guy. The question remains, though, how bad was he?
Yates isn't dying to prove the equity of Harris County executions
Just who is behind the McVeigh ads is called into question
If your condemned convicts survive, you thrive in this game
Did Johnny Penry's abusive childhood prevent him from developing a moral compass that might have stopped him from murdering Pam Carpenter? Or is he just another cold, calculating killer?
A Houston attorney who specialized in saving killers' lives couldn't handle his own. So he took it.
The Reverend Carroll Pickett leaves a grim 15-year legacy of very personal ministry: Granting the last wishes of inmates, moments before their execution
The media makes causes of more and more capital murder convicts. Meanwhile, John Albert Burks dies almost unnoticed, just another inmate moving along on the efficient execution assembly line of Texas justice.
He wouldn't eat it, so they did!
Quanell comes on strong at Graham's execution, then vanishes
Mr. Death comes alive in a disturbing documentary by Errol Morris
A Huntsville execution draws a strange crowd
Odell Barnes joins a growing list of death row inmates whose convictions have become a lot less clear-cut during the appeals process.
The case against him died from lack of evidence. But Texas still plans to execute Odell Barnes.