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The Death Penalty Is Engrained In Texas History

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A 1972 Supreme Court ruling that the U.S. death penalty system violated its Constitution prompted backlash in Texas, which has a long history of tough-on-crime policies and support for executions.

The Supreme Court ruling subdued executions but Texas lead a modern resurgence with the advent of a method courts deemed more palatable, performing the country's first execution by lethal injection in 1982.

U.S. executions are at historic lows, but Texas still consistently hands down and carries out more death sentences than any other state.

The racial disparities are stark. Nearly 60 percent of those sent to death row in Texas have been Black or Latino.

Have proposed reforms gotten any traction? When does a death penalty case warrant federal intervention?

What can Texas' death penalty history tell us about crime and punishment in America?


"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call 833-877-8255, email thesource@tpr.org or tweet @TPRSource.

*This interview was recorded on Monday, February 22.

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