Progressive members of the State Democratic Executive Committee are working to move the 2012 TDP platform to a more progressive stance on issues of importance to Texans and Americans in general. We have found that the party rules include the following language:
D State Convention
5 Officers and Committees
(d) Temporary Resolutions Committees
(9) Any resolution that considers an idea or policy that should be considered for inclusion in the Party Platform shall be referred by the Temporary Resolutions Committee to the Permanent Platform Committee of the State Convention.
We have therefore written 6 resolutions specifically to require that they be sent to the Permanent Platform Committee at the state convention. We encourage you, dear reader, to take the time to print them and bring them with you to your county or senate district convention and urge their passage. Then if you're elected as a delegate to the state convention we would ask that you or a progressive associate in your Senate District caucus run for the Platform Committee so that these important issues will have supporters on the committee. Please look below for these special resolutions.
Resolution Calling For The Abolition of the Death Penalty To Be Added To The 2012 Texas Democratic Party Platform
WHEREAS the death penalty has been documented to cost three times more than life without the possibility of parole, and, in fact, a Dallas Morning News study indicates that approximately $2.4 million is spent for a death penalty case vs. about $750,000 for life in prison; and
WHEREAS the death penalty carries a high risk of executing an innocent person and, in fact, 138 innocent people have been released from death rows across the country due to evidence of their wrongful conviction, including 12 in Texas; and
WHEREAS there is mounting evidence that Texas has already executed an innocent person (strong evidence exists in at least four cases, and the Cameron Todd Willingham case has received much attention from the Texas Forensic Science Commission and from the media); and
WHEREAS other states are increasingly turning away from the death penalty as evidenced by the legislatures in New Jersey (2007), New Mexico (2009), and Illinois (2011) repealing the death penalty and the Supreme Court of New York ruling it unconstitutional; and
WHEREAS despite gains achieved since the Jim Crow era, the contemporary application of the death penalty in Texas continues a tradition of state sanctioned theft of freedom and life in a manner that discriminates by race and ethnicity; and
WHEREAS 66% of Texas Death Row inmates are non-white; and
WHEREAS juries and prosecutors across the nation and in Texas are opting against death in favor of life in prison without parole, resulting in a 70% decline in death sentences since 2003, and in 2010, Texas juries approved new death sentences in only 8 instances, which is the lowest number since the death penalty was reinstated in 1974; and
WHEREAS Texas is the only state where a judge or state attorney general can set an execution date before the appeals process is exhausted;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the following language be included in the Capital Punishment subsection of the Public Safety Section of the 2012 Texas Democratic Party Platform:
Texas Democrats call for the passage of legislation that would abolish the death penalty in this state and replace it with the punishment of life in prison without parole.
Precinct No. __ of ____________ County, Texas
Adopted by the County/Senatorial District Convention in Senatorial District #_____ of ________ County, Texas on April 21, 2012.