Death Penalty

Give an overview of the Death Penalty in Texas.  
What are the ongoing concerns about its validity as a form of

The death penalty at the State level in Texas dates back to 1923.   There is rich history from 1923 up through present that has affected the course Texas has taken through the years concerning the   death penalty.   Prior to 1923, Texas counties were responsible for their own executions and hanging was generally their means of execution.   In 1923, all executions were ordered by the State of Texas to be carried out in Huntsville, Texas.   The electric chair was its first means of execution.   The first offender to be put to death by electrocution, Charles Reynolds from Red River County was executed on February 8, 1924.   There were four other men executed on that same day.   The electric chair was used as the means of execution from 1923 until 1964.   The last offender to be put to death by electrocution, Joseph Johnson from Harris County, was carried out on July 30, 1964.   Texas electrocuted 361 inmates from 1924 to 1964.
In 1964 Judicial challenges to capital punishment resulted in a de facto moratorium on executions in the United States.   On June 29, 1972 the U. S. Supreme Court declared capital punishment a “cruel and unusual punishment,” at which time Texas had 45 men on death row at the state level and 7 men in county jails across Texas awaiting execution.   Then Governor, Preston Smith commuted all of these sentences to life, and death row in Texas was clear by March 1973.
In 1973, revision to the Texas Penal Code allowed assessment of the death penalty and allowed for executions to resume, effective January 1, 1974.   John Devries was the first man put on death row on February 15, 1974.   However, Devries comitted suicide by hanging himself with bed sheets, on July 1, 1974.  
The State of Texas adopted lethal injection as its means of execution in 1977 and Charlie Brooks of Tarrant County was the first person executed by lethal...