Texas used to lead the country in the number of death penalty cases it closed every year, but things have changed in recent years. Texas Monthly explains that Texas has drastically reduced the number of executions.
There are a variety of factors that have led to the decrease.
The death penalty is highly controversial all over the US, but Texas has been seeing a high number of legal issues associated with its cases. Special requests or objections often lead to court battles that can take time to resolve. Therefore, the state has to delay the execution. With the legal system backed up, cases can take years to get through.
Texas courts are also avoiding handing down death sentences more often these days. The main reason for this is the costs associated with it. While people may think it is more expensive to house someone on a life sentence, death penalty cases actually cost more because of appeals. They are also more costly to investigate and prosecute.
Prosecutors have found a better alternative to seeking the death penalty. They are more often seeking life without parole. It became an available option in 2005. These cases are easier and cheaper, so prosecutors choose them over death penalty cases.
The public is also more averse to death penalty sentences than they used to be. With technology revealing many people behind bars for serious crimes are actually innocent, people are afraid to back the death penalty in case there is a mistake. So, prosecutors try to avoid it if they can because losing the case would be worse than an alternative sentence.