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Probation for murder

Updated on September 12, 2014

Texas Justice

 Texas is known worldwide for killing it's killers, but murder might also get you probation. If you kill the right person.

Dallas County holds the record for what is called "misdemeanor murder". Dallas has set more murderers free on probation than it has sent to death row. You can kill someone and never have a conviction on your record if you finish out your probation. Dallas County has sentenced 120 persons to probation  for murder at the present time. It has the highest rate of probation for murder cases than any other county in Texas.

The reasoning behind these sentences was explained by the DA, Craig Watkins. "If you have a weak case and might lose it is better to give probation than waste money on a trial you can't win." He says he will continue to use what is refered to as the "backdoor prison sentence" because it saves Texas the cost of a trial and still punishes the offender with fines.

Welcome to the other side of "Texas Justice". Texas is known world wide for the number of executions and being "tough on crime, sometimes executing 3 offenders a week".  Therefore I was amazed to see that it is the only state that offers this sentence for murder. Most of the victims are poor, homeless, mentally ill or a minority. The very fact that these people are the sam e group that are most likely to receive the death penalty if they were the offender instead of the victim is apalling.

The fact that a person convicted of murder could be living near me and I would never know because the arrangements of the plea deal are not disclosed is terrifying. Being alone most of the time and having a small child of 8 years old makes it even more frightening. Sex offenders must register and the community is notified by a flyer in the mail, they also may not live within 1000 feet of a school, park or any place where children get together.  I am stunned that a murderer may live next door and not have any of these restrictions.

To many people including myself, Texas is world of its own with laws of its own which can be manipulated to suit the D.A., the judge or whomever might be responsible for this ridculous punishment. The Govenor Rick Perry has even gone so far as to say Texas should leave the union of the United States and become its own nation. A nation of what?? A nation ruled and governed by the rich and powerful who amke the laws to their benefit. Former President George Bush Jr, has made Dallas his home. The taxpayers foot the bill for the private security gate to close off the street where he resides.

My suggestion as a United States citizen and a Texan is Governor Perry should resign and Mr. Bush go back to his ranch in Crawford, Texas. Texas is a beautiful state with many kind, and wonderful people, I have lived here most of my life. The slogan that first brought me to Dallas , "Be Dazzled In Dallas" has over the years lost its meaning and charm. I am far from being dazzled and the criminal justice system, including the Texas death chamber has made me even a little embarrssed.

The Constitution of the United States guarantes certain rights. Among these rights is the right to an impartial jury, judge and freedom from prosecution. That does not apply when you take the life of another human being. I was under the impression that somewhere in my law school classes you could not even receive bond for murder, much less probation. Maybe it slipped by me somewhere along the line.

Many things about Texas amazes me. It is my home and a place where I felt secure until recent years. I have always been and remain proud to be called a texan. The disgrace I feel at laws such as this one, allowing a murderer to go free on probation makes me uneasy about the state that I dearly love and the persons who oversee the criminal justice system. The law is to be applied fairly and consistently, this is a right by the United States Constitution. As a former corrections officer and court offical, I can tell you from experience this is not the case in Texas.

Maybe the persons who feel we should be a separate nation should move somewhere else and start their own nation, where murderers run free on probation and the rich and powerful can make laws to govern themselves.

As for me, I feel a murderer should be tried by a jury. After all we do have some very intelligent people, even though poor who are fair and unbiased. As for separating from the United States, I am proud to be a Texan, but more proud to be an American.


When is Murder murder??

 In the State of Texas, we are known to be hard on crime. We have the highest death row executions in the United States. But reading the newspaper a few days ago I was shocked. To me murder is murder. The


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    • profile image

      not guilty 4 years ago

      theres 49 other lovely states waiting for people like you, This Is TEXAS

      love it or LEAVE IT

    • christalluna1124 profile image

      christalluna1124 7 years ago from Dallas Texas


      It is maddness and especially for the state of Texas which is so quick to execute.

      Warmest regards,


    • ethel smith profile image

      Eileen Kersey 7 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Sounds madness to me