I don’t really understand what is being debated here. The Trib reports that a House Panel was considering a bill by Senfronia Thompson, HB 2458, which “prohibits death sentences based on race-related evidence.” I didn’t know that that was legal under current law, and, to be honest, I doubt it ever was.
For the record, I’m not disputing that racism has a lot to do with who is sentenced to death, but the article is confusing as to what this bill actually entails. Here what I could figure out:
The bill would create a special appeal for death row inmates who had exhausted their other options. It would allow inmates to appeal if they believed that “race was a significant factor in the decision to seek or impose the [death] sentence.” In order to make this appeal, the defendant would be required to withdraw any objection they have to the penalty of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
This bill has some unlikely proponents. Mark White, the former Democratic Governor, and former mega-proponent of capital punishment, said that this bill is necessary because of the deep racial discrimination that has permeated Texas courtrooms.
Republicans, however, were tepid to the bill, which will most likely ensure its demise.