Texas Governor Signs Life Without Parole Bill Into Law

Texas Governor Rick Perry (pictured) has signed the bill that gives juries in death penalty 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.  The new law is not retroactive, and will apply only to those sentenced after September 1, 2005. (Governor's Office, Press Release, "Governor Perry Signs Life Without Parole Bill," June 17, 2005).  Perry's action brings the total number of death penalty states with the sentencing option of life without parole to 37.  New Mexico is the only death penalty state without this option.  The Texas bill passed in both houses by substantial majorities and was strongly supported in opinion polls.  See Life Without Parole.