This podcast was transcribed by a robot called Otter.ai. Please forgive any errors in the text, as robot’s still a lot to learn:
Welcome to the Luke Misia show. The death penalty. It’s something that Texas voters Texans support. One in four Democrats supported 60% of independents 80% of Republicans. Back in June, the defend Texas Liberty pack polled Republican primary voters. They said do you believe that those people convicted of capital murder should receive the death penalty? And over 80% of them said yes. In November, defend Texas Liberty pack polled Republican primary voters and ask them that of the 200 people on death row. There’s only a couple every year I think it’s like five or 10 a year that are actually executed for the last decade. I think it’s less than five a year. And so they asked them, Hey, should Texas execute more of those on death row or less? And almost 60% 58% of Republicans said yes, those on death row should be executed. It’s not actually that controversial of a topic. There are good people who oppose the death penalty on principle, but as a whole Republicans, Independents, and yes, Texans support the death penalty, but the Texas House of Representatives is pushing legislation through that could very severely undermine the death penalty. And today we’re going to break down a debate that was had on the Texas House floor on this very issue. Let’s get to the show. On the second day that the Texas House of Representatives met to consider legislation, this is literally the second calendar that it has heard the entire session, it debated House Bill 727, a bill that I think became increasingly controversial over the week leading up to its consideration. Now the interesting thing is this legislation has come before the legislature in the past, in fact, two sessions ago it came and 66 Republicans voted against it then. So when the policy has been considered, it has only ever passed with a small group of Republicans and a bunch of Democrats. So this legislative session was no exception to that. But the bill went through very quickly. Joe Moody was named the chairman. He is a Democrat Chair of the criminal justice committee criminal jurisprudence. And Joe moody is a very smart Democrat. He’s actually smarter than most Democrats in the Texas House of Representatives. He knows how to operate and advance his agenda, his liberal agenda, much better than most other Democrats. He was the Speaker Pro Tem last session. And when Democrats fled to DC, and made us waste all that money during the special session where we couldn’t actually consider this election integrity legislation. Joe moody lost his position to Speaker Pro Tem as a result of the work that he did to organize and then abandon Texas and go to DC and hang out with Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and the rest of his Democrat colleagues. But it goes to show the reality that he had that position because he is very effective. And he has given a lot of power and influence by Date field, and he’s one of the Democrats he relies on the most. Well, Joe Moody was named Chairman of this committee. And one of the things Joe moody has done for a very long time is tried to undermine the death penalty. Now, here’s the truth. Democrats are smart, Joe Moodys very smart, they’re not going to try to pass a bill that says this bill makes the death penalty illegal. Because as I explained, one in four Democrats think the death penalty should be illegal. 60% of independents think the death penalty should be illegal 80% of Republicans. So you can’t come out and say, Oh, the death penalty is not legal. So what they’ve done is HB 727 says that anybody with a severe mental illness may not receive the death penalty. And then you go okay, well, what is severe mental illness mean? And they define it to include somebody who is schizophrenic, or has bipolar disorder. I here’s the problem with this definition. Over 30% of mass shooters, according to most surveys, have bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia. And this is kind of a logical statement. If you think about it. What does it take someone to decide to take their firearm, a firearm that they more than likely illegally obtained? Go into some group of people and shoot up 1012 1520 Women, children, civilians, This person probably is spiritually and mentally broken. And this is a reality that we’ve had to grapple with as a nation as a state and as a society. But this bill basically says, we are going to prohibit judges and juries for making their determination on whether the crime committed the murderous acts committed by this individual is worthy of receiving the death penalty. It takes away that power from individual Texans and instead the legislature declares no matter what crimes these people commit, if you’re bipolar, if you have schizophrenia, you’re not getting the death penalty. Hello, everybody. Thank you for joining us on this edition of the headlines. We are being invaded at our border. I don’t need to tell someone from Texas that you guys know that you’re obese these men dressed up as women but they’re not dressed up too much school choice has new momentum, we shouldn’t be surprised that the lows to which the Biden administration settings, there are somewhere between 20 and 30,000 illegal aliens a week entering entering our country. If you’re a conservative Republican in the state of Texas, you are duty bound. At this point he be backing down after supporting a drag show for kids who can use article one section 10, clause three to basically use state war powers. Thank you so much for joining, have a great weekend. So this bill became came before the textiles war and Representative Tony 10 year old offered an amendment that said that basically anybody who would kill three or more people were exempt from the bill basically saying, Okay, this bill is going to say all these people are you know, if you’re bipolar, schizophrenic, you can’t get the death penalty. And he said, Well, I’m going to add an amendment that basically says, if you’re bipolar, schizophrenic and you kill three or more people, you can get the death penalty. So David feel and actually ruled the amendment out of order. Jeff Leach got up very quickly. Representative Jeff Leach, Jeff Leach is one of the Republicans who I would say has worked most consistently to also undermine the death penalty. Now we’re gonna watch representative leach defend this policy as well. And he will say multiple times that he is supportive of the death penalty. Now, I believe that Representative leach supports the death penalty in that when he he believes that there are some people who could get the death penalty. Okay. So I don’t actually believe that he’s lying when he says that. What I do believe is that he wants less people than the already very small number of people who get executed to get executed. And I think that that is not in line with what Republicans see the death penalty as what we believe it is for and how we believe it should be used. So let’s go first to this clip of speaker date feeling ruling on Jeff leeches point of order to try to stop an amendment that basically just says mass shooters are not included in this bill. Let’s go to the clip. Mr. Leach raised the point of order against further consideration of the tender whole amendment and then the number one under Rule 11. Section two of the house rules of procedure on the grounds of the amendment is not germane. As introduced and report from a committee that the bill covers a single class of persons, those who are unable to form the requisite mental intent for the condition of a capital offense. The amendment addresses a separate distinct class of persons, those who with malice or forethought committed a capital offense. These two classes are not the same. If for that reason, the amendment is not germane. Accordingly, the corner order is well taken and sustained. So again, there’s this attempt made to say hey, if you’ve killed three or more people, you’re not ruled. You’re not part of this protected class that we’re creating of people that can commit as heinous crime as they want, no matter what they do. They’re not held accountable to it to the extent that we hold the rest of the people in our community accountable. Representative leach then got up and explained why he supported the bill after killing Tony tender Holt’s amendment and got into an exchange with Representative Brian Slayton. So, we’re gonna go to this clip and break it down for you to explain the debate that was had. Thank you, Mr. Speaker members. I don’t want to belabor the point but I do want to take a second and tell you why I am not just voting yes on this bill, but but proudly supporting this bill. There’s been some misinformation That’s, that’s been sent around this morning and including a letter that was placed on your desk. And for those members who might be new to the chamber, you should always be wary when any group leaves a letter on your desk, but doesn’t testify against a bill in committee. And, and I believe that that, that that group and those groups as much as I respect them today are misled themselves on the bill. I am a supporter, a strong supporter of the death penalty. I believe that in Texas, we need the death penalty and should utilize the death penalty in the most heinous cases. But I am as a supporter of the death penalty against against executing people who at the time of the commit the offense had a severe mental illness. And that is well established constitutional law and other states are passing this law and it’s time for Texas to do the same. We cannot we should not, especially as pro life conservative is execute people who did not have the requisite mens rea at the time of the offense, period, we can’t do that. And for those of you who might believe that we can and should do that, if you’re in the business, or if you’re interested in saving taxpayer dollars, this bill will save the state of Texas millions of taxpayer dollars every year, because whether you know it or not right now, the state of Texas is litigating these matters on nearly every single death penalty case, every single one of them. The reason that we have some death row inmates who are sitting in solitary confinement for 23 and a half hours a day, for in many cases 1020 3040 years, is because these issues are being tied up in our courts. Good lawyers on both sides are fighting these out in the state of Texas, through our attorney general’s office is being forced to show up to spend hundreds of millions of our taxpayer dollars fighting these issues. And what this bill does all it does is it requires this determination to be moved. If the defendant so chooses from the end of the trial to the beginning of the trial. That’s it. This decision can be made at the beginning of the trial, the trial can proceed. And if it was determined that the defendant who committed the offense had the requisite mens rea at the time of the offense, then that defendant can be executed by the state. If not, then they can’t, but they could still get life in prison without parole. I believe this is a good bill that law and order death penalty supporting Republicans and Democrats should vote for should proudly vote for and I think you should put I hope that you’ll put all the misinformation aside and cast your yes vote for this bill today. So let’s stop right there. Jeff Leach makes a couple of different statements that I think need to be unpacked. So first and foremost, he says basically, you need to be aware, there was a letter that was dropped on the seats from the Texas Municipal Police Association, the Dallas police officers, the Harris County deputy, basically people from law enforcement saying hey, this bill significantly undermines and tries to get rid of the death penalty in a lot of these cases, right? And then he says, Well, you need to be weary. And this is when senior members of the legislature tried to catechize freshmen into all the unwritten rules of the legislature. Right, you need to be wary of groups that tell you that a bill was bad when they didn’t come testify against the bill. Now, this is interesting. It’s basically like, hey, everybody who opposes our legislation, you have to come to the committee. And you have to tell us at this time when this bill is being considered, and if you don’t, then none of your opinions matter. You don’t get to speak into the process. You don’t have a First Amendment right. You don’t get the ability to come to the legislature and say you’re considering this on the bill for the very first time. This is still has to pass the chamber twice the Senate all this stuff. We now want to voice just how bad we think this bill is right? The Texas Municipal Police Officers Association testified against the dropped a card I don’t know if they testified verbally or just dropped a card. Phil serralves, who’s the Tarrant County District Attorney showed up? He had a guy there saying this is a bad bill. But that’s okay. So he first just criticizes them like, hey, they’re not following all the unwritten rules of the legislature. He then says, Hey, if you’re pro life, vote for this. And this is something that a lot of advocates have said for a long time. Now. I think it is really important to not act like these are the same things. And my reason for that being that the entire point of the pro life movement has been to stop the killing of innocent people. Okay, innocent people, children that are literally conceived in the womb, and we are going in and we are killing them. We’re killing them based on how old they are. Right? If they were born, we couldn’t kill them then where they’re at, it’s based on the fact that well, you’re in a womb. So the fact that you’re here, right? Like there are literally states where if you’re 24 weeks and in the womb, we can kill you if you’re 24 weeks old, and you’re out of the womb and hooked up to an incubator, you can’t kill them. It is literally based on the location, the level of development, and how much they’re wanted. If a set of parents says I have very good friends that were recently in a medical situation, where their child was in danger of passing away in the womb, and they went to the hospital, and this child was literally not viable. And so the mother is in the hospital for weeks, and they’re giving her drugs and taking care of her every single day, just to prevent this child from hopefully, coming out too soon, the entire medical staff was dedicated on trying to save this child’s life. And that child got to the point of viability, and then was brought into this world at two pounds. That same child, if they were not wanted by the parents, in blue states, and some red states, sadly, could be killed. See, the pro life movement says those are not what determine your worth. The fact that you’re a human being made in God’s image gives you as much value as every other person on the planet. So anybody who tries to kill you, is murdering you. Now, for a long time advocates against the death penalty, or who want to just significantly weaken it have said, well, it’s not pro life. And in this instance, they’re literally not even saying that these people didn’t commit the crime, because he’s some people have said, Hey, which this is an argument to consider somebody. And there are people in the United States of America who have died, who who might not have committed those crimes, right? Who didn’t commit the crimes. So you go, Hey, if someone is innocent, we don’t want to end their life. It’s pro life to not want innocent people to be killed. I agree. This bill literally is like, if they did commit the capital offense, if they did heinous ly kill multiple people, I could describe to you some of the crimes that people on death row in Texas committed. And you would have to first make sure none of your children were in the room. When I’m describing these crimes, some of them committed against small children, some of them committed against older, elderly people, some of them committed against people anywhere in between. And it would be graphic, even if I were to try to say it in the nicest way possible. This bill says even if you’ve committed all those crimes, if you’re bipolar, you don’t get the death penalty. I don’t think the argument that says well, this is the pro life position. In any way stands, this is not comparative. There is no comparison between ripping the limbs off of this little baby in the womb, and convicting a criminal of a crime that we know they committed. The next thing he says is, this is costing us too much money. If you want to save money, vote for this bill. That’s a really interesting argument. But it also falls completely apart. Because he then says, you know, we’re spending hundreds of millions of dollars litigating all these issues. So let’s talk about why we’re spending all that money. We are spending all that money, because people who have been convicted by a judge and a jury, and we’re gonna get to this as the third point by a judge and a jury of committing this heinous crime, and of deserving and giving them the death penalty are then represented by a bunch of people who don’t believe in the death penalty. See, most legal groups have effectively ended the death penalty for most people who get it, which is honestly unjust to the victims of the crime. And I would argue that it’s unjust to the person who’s received the death death penalty. Texas has hundreds of people on death row, but we’ll maybe execute five people this year. Why? Because suit after suit after suit is filed. Now Jeff, leeches argument is all this money is getting spent. We could save that money if we just say none of these people can get the death penalty. It’s like, we know that’s true. In fact, we could say nobody can get the death penalty and then save hundreds of millions of dollars. But actually, if there’s one thing that the state of Texas should spend money on, it’s making sure that when a judge and a jury say this person Who killed these 3456 people is worthy of the death penalty. And we have determined that they not only committed the crime, but also that the crime they committed means that they should receive the death penalty. That is an actual expenditure of taxpayer money that the government should appropriately do. In fact, you have a bunch of liberal district attorneys who are now saying, guess what, even if you commit a crime, we’re not going to prosecute you for it, they’re going to selectively prosecute. They go, Hey, if you if you steal less than $500, in our city, we’re not prosecuting you see, that’s the wrong thing. What we would say is, we want you to spend our taxpayer money making sure that crimes that are committed in our community are prosecuted. And the same is true here. This is not a bill designed to save taxpayer money. It is a bill designed to say these people who currently have gotten the death penalty can’t get it. So I guess there won’t be any litigation over it. And then let’s talk about the third point he makes, here’s what he says. He says, this just moves things up. To be considered. This just moves things up to be considered before the trial, instead of at the end of the trial. Now, I don’t I’m not a lawyer. But I’ve talked to a lot of people about this bill. And here’s the truth. The bill is not a mere procedure to say pleadings made at this point, can only be made at this point. The bill says if you have bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia, you can’t get the death penalty. And it is true that the lawyers who are trying to keep this murderer from getting the death penalty are going to make the pleadings at the start of the case to say, hey, Texas has a law on the books and it says anybody with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia can’t get the death penalty. So we’d like to now present evidence to you the court that says he does indeed have bipolar disorder. That’s what it says. But that pleading can’t even be made. If the state of Texas hasn’t passed a bill that says specifically these people cannot receive the death penalty. So acting like this is merely a procedural shift is being confusing to the body about what this bill actually does. Now, let’s go to the exchange that Representative Leach and Brian Slayton had on this bill, so slightly for purpose. Mr. Speaker, there’s a gentleman yield for some questions. Gentleman yield for questions. Yes, gentlemen. Thank you. Representative Leach. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Representative leech. So what misinformation Are you referring to exactly? Well, the information that was provided to members that I’ve seen is that this bill is an end around to do away with the death penalty, that this that this bill is some part of a concerted secret effort to ultimately do away with the death penalty in Texas. And I’m telling you telling the members here, if that were the case, I would not vote for it. And I in fact, as a death penalty supporter, I believe that passing this bill strengthens the utilization of the death penalty in Texas not weakens it. Okay. And in 2018, that Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center, they determined that 33% of mass shooters had schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Were you aware of their research? Yes, I am representative seitan. And I’m also aware of the fact that those issues right now in every single death penalty case are being litigated. This bill does not change that at all. Understand, but if this bill passes, then, according to this research, 33% of people that commit mass act of violence are not going to be eligible for the death penalty, because it says 33% of them had schizophrenia and bipolar disease. That is that is patently not true. Representative Slayton that is absolutely not true. What this bill sets up is a process by way where the judge can make this determination can hear evidence, Representative slate and realize that that in this determination in this hearing before a trial, both the defendant and the state of Texas get to put on evidence, and the judge makes the determination then the trial goes forward. Nothing about that changes in this case. Okay. Were you aware of the study, I referred to the National Library of Medicine said 17.5% of criminal defendants were able to avoid going to prison by convincingly faking mental illness. Were you aware of that study? Representative Slayton, I was not aware of that specific, that specific survey or whatever it is you’re talking about. But I do trust our judge judges, and I do trust our judicial system to make those determinations. We as the legislature are not here to make those determinations. You either trust our judges and juries, or you don’t, and I do. So again, he does talk about it. The fact that this just sets up a system, this isn’t actually saying that these people can’t receive the death penalty. It’s almost acting as like all of these people can’t receive the death penalty already. Right? We’re just changing the procedure. And that’s not true. But I really want to hone in on what Representative leach says at the end. He said, He says, I trust our judges and judicial systems. At the end, he says we either trust our judges and juries, or we don’t, and I do. I actually think that argument is in reverse. I think those of us who oppose HB 727 trust our judges and juries today. And those who want to undermine the death penalty, do not trust our judges and juries, because you see, these people don’t have to get the death penalty. These judges and juries are given the evidence, they’re given all of the information. Ron DeSantis, is actually pushing reform in Florida. That is good, because a mass shooter in the state of Florida, who killed a ton of people was not given the death penalty. He was given life in prison, the jury decided he definitely committed this crime. But several of the jurors were just principally opposed to the death penalty. It didn’t matter if you said he’s committed this crime, and he’s committed 50 other murders that we just found out about. There were jurors on this jury that said, I don’t care what he did, I never support the death penalty. And in Florida, you need a unanimous jury decision to give the death penalty. And Ron DeSantis said, This is wrong. This is actually basically prohibiting justice from being given to these individuals based on one or two individuals positions. So you could have a bunch of juries in Florida, that just will never give the death penalty to anyone. So he’s pushing legislation that says a super majority of the jury can give the death penalty to an individual who has committed a heinous crime deserving of the death penalty. This is the opposite of that. See, Ron DeSantis is saying I trust the juries, but we can’t afford for just one juror to hold up the entire thing. This is unrealistic. In this situation, the Texas House is doing the opposite. They’re saying, hey, there are judges and juries out there, who are convicting people of crimes and giving them the death penalty that we don’t want them to give the death penalty to. And so we’re going to change the law to make sure that people that fit that kind of profile, never get the death penalty again. The good news is I believe that the state senate is set up to kill this bill if it comes over to them. Also, literally, right before we film this episode, the Texas House of Representatives met and they were going to have a third reading vote on this bill. Every bill gets voted on twice, they have a second reading and a third reading vote. And the vote was actually postponed till next Wednesday. Okay, so we’re now not going to have a vote on this bill. Today. While I’m recording this. The last vote out of the house will be next Wednesday. This is probably being done in an effort to try to whip some of the 61 Republicans that voted against this bill. Think of that. I’ve talked to you about the Texas House of Representatives. And I’ve told you, we don’t have anywhere close to 61 conservative fighting principled members of the legislature. But 61 Republicans looked at this bill and said, Yeah, I agree. We should not prohibit the death penalty from being able to be applied to all of these people who commit these heinous crimes. And so now, the Texas House is going to try to whip a lot of those people into voting for the bill to make it look less controversial when it goes over to the Senate. hB 727 provided a lot of texts and some insight into the types of debates that are going to happen on the Texas House floor. And none of these debates would be possible. If House leadership had the same principle, that damn Patrick house, we talked about this during our casino budget. Our just casino episode, right. So we talked about the fact that Dan Patrick said, hey, it doesn’t even matter if this casino bill has enough votes to pass. It needs to have a majority of support in the Republican caucus, because I’m not going to let Democrats pass a bill that is their agenda with just enough Republicans to pass the bill. So he has the bar set higher because he wants to make sure the Republican majority senate is a Republican majority policy. Now this policy is nowhere close to being Republican majority. There were 18 Republicans that voted with the Democrats, and there were 61 Republicans that voted against it. This legislation should not be Even beyond the Texas House floor, but it is and it might be coming up next Wednesday for a vote. It’s House Bill seven to seven. This is the kind of stuff happening in the Texas House right now. There’s a lot of stuff happening in the Texas Senate. There’s more stuff we’re going to bring to you. But I felt like this particular debate is an issue that I care about, I think a lot of you care about, and I think gives us some insight into the type of policy that we’re going to continue to see debated in the house. I am actually very grateful for the 61 Republicans that said, No, I don’t think this is appropriate legislation that really has set the legislation up to have a very hard time passing this session. I’m grateful for it. You probably should be too. I appreciate your time this week. May God bless you and may God bless the great state of Texas. no ads, no paywalls no government grants and no corporate masters. Just real news for real Texans. This is Texas scorecard.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai