Texas set to execute 500th death-row inmate

In what reads to be an astounding example of wrong, Texas is set to execute its 500th death-row inmate this Wednesday. Lincoln Caplan, at the NYT, blogs a very compelling case to stay this execution, "Texas’s death penalty system is notorious for its high tolerance of ineffective counsel for defendants, overly zealous prosecutors, and racial discrimination in jury selection. The case of Kimberly McCarthy, the woman scheduled for execution, seems tainted by all three."


  1. Blimey, I misread that as “Texas set to execute 500 death-row inmates”; I was shocked but not surprised.

    1. Same here. I thought it was like, a way to reduce wait times by blasting a bunch of them through the system. :S

  2. That’s one way to reduce the impact of the TOTALLY NON-CLIMATE-CHANGE-INDUCED drought.

  3.  Sometimes people talk about covering executions live. There actually is a media outlet in Texas that does this in Texas. KPFT, the Pacifica Radio affiliate in Houston, covers every execution live.

    “Execution Watch”  is an interesting show. They have interviews with lawyers about the history of the case,  live reports from Huntsville, reports on anti death penalty vigils in Houston and Huntsville, and then the creepy part when they announce that the execution is complete. That’s usually around 6:30-6:45 PM Central.

    So, if the death penalty is so awesome why doesn’t any other media cover executions so extensively? You’d think they could at least break into Wheel of Fortune to announce the execution was complete. But no one does. They know that what we are doing is shameful.

    1.  I really recommend that everyone listen to Execution Watch. It’s usually hosted by prisoner families advocate Ray Hill. He is a former prisoner himself and is person closed to the touchy-feely grace and mercy type Jesus I have ever met

      If you oppose the death penalty, this program will show you what you are up against. If you support the death penalty, give it a listen and hear what it’s really like.

      Best Info I have from KPFT is that the execution is still on. Execution Watch is scheduled to start between 5:30 to 6:00 CDT. You can listen to it live online.

      As far as I know this is the only regular live coverage of executions in the US. I would also recommend going to a live vigil if you have never done so. There is always the big one in Huntsville, and a smaller one in Houston, usually in front of the sculpture garden at the MFA or behind the garden across from St Paul’s. Austin has a vigil most of the time, but I don’t know where they are. Dallas often has one too. Join in.

  4. Let me see if I understand this correctly.  It’s against the law to kill an innocent victim, punishable by death in Texas.  Multiple Texas officials have been responsible for systematically and knowingly putting to death a number of innocent victims.  Ergo, their punishment should be….?

    1. You missed „…to kill *without proper authorization*…“  

      They had proper authorization, so that makes it legal.

  5.  It’s just a number. Executions in Texas have fallen off in the last three years, following actual reforms in sentencing and evidence handling. That number is still falling year to year.

    People actually sentenced to death is sharply falling. Only 9 people statewide in 2012 (less than half of Florida’s rate).

    In executions per capita last year, Texas fell behind Oklahoma, Arizona, Mississippi, South Dakota, Idaho and Delaware (ranking, per-capita, #7 of 9  states that carried out executions).

      1. They’ll still get the Lifetime Achievement award.  Of course, my state is #7, as Navin’s comment below shows.  Yep, I’m from the Bloodthirsty Belt.

        1. Still Texas obviously isn’t all bad; otherwise you wouldn’t be dissing your state on Boing Boing. Hate the politicians, not the people who didn’t vote for them.

    1. They’re still one of the very few states who continues to have many executions every year. It looks particularly pitiful when spelled out among the other states:


      And it was 15 people last year, not 9.

      The United States carried out a total of 43 executions in 2012, which
      was the same number carried out in 2011. “In terms of known executions,
      that puts the United States in 5th place, behind China, Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, and ahead of Yemen,” Evans said.

      Three quarters of all executions in the U.S. occurred in only four states: Texas, Arizona, Mississippi and Oklahoma. In 2011, 13 Texas prisoners were put to death; that number increased last year. Evans said, “Texas had 15 executions, which would put them in 8th place if they were a separate country in the world — between Sudan and Afghanistan.”

      The number of death sentences carried out in the Lone Star State are expected to be even higher in 2013, with some 12 executions scheduled over the next four months. But even those numbers would be down from the record 40 lethal injections performed in the year 2000.


    2. Oh, come now.  I’m strongly in favor of the death penalty, because I believe imprisonment is cruel and dehumanizing, but I don’t think you can honestly compare Delaware’s system to that of Texas and somehow end up believing Texas is better at avoiding the execution of the innocent.  Delaware’s been hanging murderers since 1662 and still hasn’t killed as many people as Texas has on death row right now – yet Delaware’s actual murder rate is higher than that of Texas.  There’s lots to criticize in Delaware, sure, but using per-capita executions to imply the death penalty is less equitably applied than in Texas doesn’t work.

  6. Texas








    North Carolina

    South Carolina


  7. Death penalty aside, is there any reasonable doubt that McCarthy is guilty of the crime for which she was convicted?  I can understand opposition to the death penalty but it’s not as if there wasn’t mountains of physical evidence supporting McCarthy’s guilt. Oblique references to her being innocent seem to ignore the conviction at retrial and the upholding of the verdict on appeal.

Comments are closed.