Inadequate Data

to perform any analysis.

Data Request Process Grade 3.6 / 5 (B)
Factors Supporting Grade
Request Responsiveness
Financial Accessibility
No Residency Required
Appeal Responsiveness

*These factors track the process--i.e. the effort and obstacles--for obtaining data from individual states under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and appeals process. These factors do not measure the quality of the data; only the process of attempting to obtain the data.

Data Status

Texas responded on the same day to our data request filed under FOIA with a link to Texas’s public high value datasets, which reflect all persons currently incarcerated in the state. We created our dataset by examining Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) data for people whose charge was listed as one of the following: “felony murder,” “felony murder (lesser included o,” “felony murder w/dw,” “murder felony,” “murder w/committing felony,” “murder while comm felony,” “murder while comm felony w/wpn,” “murder while committing felony,” “murder while committing (sic) felony,” or “murder-in the comm.of robbery.” This public dataset, however, only displays the highest listed offense, so we supplemented the data by scraping Texas’s inmate information search. However, these records do not seem to have a standardized approach to logging offense descriptions or statutes. There are obvious misspellings, miscategorizations, and other forms of human error in their record keeping. For example, some murder charges are logged as “muder” or “murde.”

As such, we are not in a position to publish any analysis as we cannot at this time represent a clear or complete picture of felony murder in Texas.

In Texas, felony murder is defined in the first degree murder statute (Tex. Penal Code Ann. § 19.02 )

Prosecutors can charge and convict any person of murder without having to prove that they intended to cause another person’s death. Prosecutors must only prove that a person committed or attempted to commit another felony and that “in the course of and in furtherance of . . . or in immediate flight from” the felony, the person “commits or attempts to commit an act clearly dangerous to human life” and that a death occurred. Prosecutors can prove first degree murder even when the death was caused by a third non-party (i.e. neither the person nor their accomplice).

A conviction for felony murder carries a sentence of a minimum of 5 years and maximum of 99 years.

Access the Data

Learn more about how you can contribute to transparency when it comes to felony murder.