I talked to Terri Hodge's office at 11:15 PM tonight and found out that HB 2267 (the Law of Parties bill) passed the Calendars Committee today and was placed on the General State Calendar for a vote by the full House May 8, which means it will likely be voted on this Friday on the floor of the House. Hodge's office says there is a small chance they could vote on it as soon as Thursday sometime, but more likely it will be Friday.
Please call your Texas state representative today and urge them to vote for HB 2267.
Tell the office you call that HB 2267 is on the General State Calendar for May 8.
HB 2267 would require separate trials for co-defendants in capital trials in which the death penalty is sought and would prohibit the state from seeking the death penalty for people who do not kill anyone but are convicted under the Law of Parties. It is fundamentally unfair to sentence someone to death, like Kenneth Foster was, if they did not kill anyone. The death penalty is intended to be reserved for the worst of the worst killers. People who do not themselves kill anyone are not only not the worst of the worst, they are not even killers.
The Law of Parties allows people who “should have anticipated” a murder to receive the death penalty for the actions of another person who killed someone. A person sentenced to death under the Law of Parties has not killed anyone. They are accomplices or co-conspirators of one felony, such as robbery, during which another person killed someone. However, in some cases a person can end up on death row under the law of parties even though they did not even know their co-defendant had any intention to hurt or even rob the victim, which is what happened to Kenneth Foster. A person who did not kill anyone, or intend anyone to be killed, should not be executed for the actions of another person.
Thank you and call your state rep today!