Nine people convicted by the state's juries in 2008 were sentenced to die, according to an annual review of capital punishment cases by the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.
It also found that six executions this year were stopped by last-minute reprieves and seven Texas inmates were removed from death row with sentences commuted to life.
Executions in the nation's busiest death chamber were down to 18 from 26 a year ago, but no executions were carried out until June because of a de facto nationwide moratorium on capital punishment while the Supreme Court considered whether lethal injection methods were unconstitutionally cruel.
The implication is a good one for the anti-capital punishment movement. Texas juries appear to have tempered their condemnations. In Harris County, which is the state's top contributor to death row, no one was sentenced to death in 2008. It was a first time since the U.S. Supreme Court allowed capital punishment to resume in 1976. "A lot of it can be attributed to life without parole and people who plead," Roe Wilson, a Harris County prosecutor who handles capital case appeals, said Thursday. Harris County accounts for 118 of the state's 354 condemned inmates.
What's your opinion? Does this indicate that public opinion about the death penalty is shifting? What do you think about the alternative of life without parole for the worst of the worst? The fact that it's more cost effective in the long run and eliminates the possibility of wrongly executing people, isn't it a better way to go?
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