Capital Punishment

Capital Punishment & the State of Texas
By: Sean Drawdy
Keiser University
Professor Pennino
October 19, 2010

The state of Texas has been executing the mentally ill without any consequences. In a country where people are protected by the constitution of the United States Texas seems to be violating prisoners Eight Amendment rights, and apparently they are getting away with it.

Capital Punishment & the State of Texas
The state of Texas has executed 322 people since the death penalty was restored in 1976. The total number of executions throughout the entire country is only 910. With this unbelievable number of executions there are bound to be mistakes, but the state of Texas seems to ignore the law all together, especially when it comes to the mentally ill. The Eight Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishment, and in 1986 the Supreme Court ruled against the execution of the mentally ill. After the Supreme Court ruling Texas is still executing the mentally ill, and getting away with it. This pattern of ignoring the law and executing mentally ill people has been well documented, but no one seems to do anything about it.
Kelsey Patterson was 50 years old, and was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1981. Patterson murdered Louis Oates, 63, and Dorothy Harris, 41, and witnesses saw him leaving the scene of the crime yelling and saying things to himself that no one could understand. He was also not allowed to sit in the courtroom at his trial because of outbursts of claims of implants and devices that controlled him. Even with this obviously disturbed behavior, and the documentation from 1981 that showed he was diagnosed mentally ill he was still sentenced to death. What is even more disturbing is that after his death sentence the state and federal courts upheld his conviction. However, in 2004 “Patterson’s case marked only the third time since 1999 that the Texas pardons board made a non-binding clemency recommendation for a...