Correcting Injustice

April 19, 2021
Correcting Injustice

In August of 2016, a man by the name of Jeff Wood was scheduled to be executed; in a last-minute push for a stay of execution, those advocating for him were reaching out to members of the Texas Legislature.

Jeff Wood was, essentially, the get-away driver in a planned robbery of a convenience store. He sat in a truck outside, while his friend went inside to steal a safe and, in the process, shot and killed the clerk. Though Wood did not know his friend had taken a gun inside the store; though according to evidence presented in his friend’s trial, Wood had even told his conspirator not to take a weapon; Wood was sentenced to death under the law of parties.

The current law does not contain adequate safeguards to ensure that the punishment fits the crime, that convictions are proportionate to both the defendant’s conduct AND their intent. The current law allows those who never intended for anyone to die, much less themselves pull the trigger, to be sentenced to death.

House Bill 1340 seeks to correct this injustice and I’m happy to say that it passed out of the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence last week. I look forward to this important criminal justice reform making it to the House floor for a vote soon.