Criminal law

Criminal justice reform challenges the “law of parties” in Texas


Small steps in criminal justice reform may occur during the current legislative session Texas House of Representatives Bill 1736. The bill would prevent any individual from being sentenced to death if convicted under the “party law” or the “conspiring party rule.”

Under the current rule of law, courts are permitted to convict individuals of a crime to the point of death even if the crime was committed by someone else.

“This undermines the integrity of Texas’ death penalty system by allowing individuals who did not kill or intend to kill anyone to be sentenced to death for a crime they did not commit,” according to a Texas Public Policy Foundation report. Right to crime.

The proposed Texas legislation would not allow a secondary participant to be subject to the death penalty unless the conspirator was a major participant in the conspiracy or in the attempt to carry out the conspiracy. House bill. Other definitions apply if the secondary co-conspirator acts with reckless indifference to human life and if the murder is committed in furtherance of the illegal purpose of the plot.

House Bill 1736 was introduced by Republican Jeff Leach and supported the death penalty, but he publicly discussed his views on death row inmate Jeffrey Lee Wood and his support in fighting to stop his execution and adopt new policies to reform criminal justice in the state.

Wood is on death row in the 1996 case in Kerrville, when he and a co-defendant robbed a service station, killing the white host in the process, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Wood claims to have admitted to participating in store defrauding conversations with the shooter, victim, and manager, but Wood and the victim recanted before the day the inside robbery was planned. “Wood did not know that Renault would go ahead with the robbery and kill their friend. Testimony from excluded witnesses supports his version of events, and Renault also admitted during cross-examination that the decision was momentary, not planned,” according to a detective. Online message from the Woods family.

Leach stated that he does not believe Wood is innocent but believes that the death penalty is (not) an appropriate sentence for the crime committed, as he did not commit the murder himself, according to reports from Texas Endowment Network.

Earlier this month, the House of Representatives Criminal Jurisprudence Committee unanimously approved the bill. For a bill to become law, it must be approved again by the House of Representatives on the third reading and approved by the Senate.

The editors noted: A correction was made on behalf of Woods’ claims as follows: “Wood did not know that Renault was going to go ahead with the robbery and kill their friend. Excluded witness testimony supports his version of events, and Renault also admitted during cross-examination that he was.” “A spur-of-the-moment decision, it wasn’t planned,” according to an online message from Woods’ family.


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