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Death Sentences & Executions At Record Low In Texas

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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A group that monitors capital murder cases in Texas says there may be a shift in public attitude.

According to The Texas Defender Service (TDS), there were only 13 executions carried out in Texas this year — a 15 year low.

In addition, there were only eight inmates sent to death row in 2011 and none of those were from Dallas County.

“Dallas [County] certainly tried,” explained Kathryn Kase, an attorney with the TDS. “And Dallas did go to trial this year seeking death sentences in a couple of cases, but it wasn’t able to attain it.”

One of the cases where Dallas County prosecutors tried but failed to get a death sentence was in the murder of Dallas police Officer Norman Smith. The man who shot him was sentenced to life in prison.

Kase believes there may be a shift in public opinion about the irreversible death sentence, particularly after so many wrongful convictions have been discovered.

Of the new statistics Kase said, “That means that jurors are making this choice, for non-death outcomes.”

Despite the drop in numbers, Texas leads the nation in the number of people put to death: carrying out 477 executions since 1977.

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