Gov. Perry Signs Life Without Parole Bill
Also Signs Bill Changing Death Certificate on Executed Inmates
Gov. Rick Perry today signed Senate Bill 60, which gives juries in capital murder cases the option of sentencing a defendant to life without the possibility of parole.
"I believe this bill will improve our criminal justice system because it gives jurors a new option to protect the public with the certainty a convicted killer will never roam our streets again," Perry said.
While the life without parole sentence cannot be applied retroactively to those already convicted of capital murder, it will provide victims assurance that in the future, even if appellate courts overturn death sentences, those convicted of the most heinous murders will never be released from prison. The law applies only to those convicted of capital murder after Sept. 1, 2005.
Perry also approved another death penalty-related bill, House Bill 93, which will change the terminology used on certificates of death for executed inmates.
"Individuals who commit unspeakable crimes against Texas citizens and are put to death under Texas law are not victims," Perry said. "They are criminals and the final document that bears their name should reflect this fact."
House Bill 93 requires the death certificate of an inmate executed by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to be classified as death caused by "judicially ordered execution." Currently, the death certificates list the cause of death as homicide. This bill will take effect Sept. 1, 2005.