By: Jolie McCullough
The Texas Tribune
The last execution in Texas was more than five months ago, the longest gap since 2008. While the hiatus eight years ago reflected a nationwide pause as the U.S. Supreme Court considered the constitutionality of lethal injection, this time the reasons for the slowdown are less clear.
Execution dates are still being set, but judges and courts have been rescheduling or stopping executions. At least two judges on the state's highest criminal court say better lawyering by defense attorneys has contributed to the recent stays. Death penalty opponents are looking for a silver lining, hoping the court is more deeply scrutinizing the constitutional use of the punishment.