Death Penalty Opponents Are Winning “¦ Almost Everywhere

Two states accounted for more than half of all U.S. executions in 2013, a year in which capital punishment decreased across the country.

A view of the death chamber from the witness room at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, Ohio. 
National Journal
Dustin Volz
Add to Briefcase
Dustin Volz
Dec. 19, 2013, 5:23 a.m.

Ex­e­cu­tions are on the de­cline across the United States — un­less you live in Texas or Flor­ida.

The U.S. put to death 39 people in 2013, just the second time in the past two dec­ades that num­ber has fallen be­low 40, ac­cord­ing to data com­piled by the Death Pen­alty In­form­a­tion Cen­ter. Ad­di­tion­ally, the num­ber of new death sen­tences is­sued in 2013 was near its low­est level since cap­it­al pun­ish­ment was re­in­stated in the 1970s.

Total ex­e­cu­tions fell by four over­all from last year, but the two states that car­ried out the most — Texas (16) and Flor­ida (7) — both in­creased their pace from 2012. To­geth­er, the two ac­coun­ted for 59 per­cent of all U.S. ex­e­cu­tions in 2013, al­though Texas car­ried out few­er than 10 death sen­tences for the sixth con­sec­ut­ive year — a stark con­trast to the 48 re­cor­ded in 1999.

The end-year re­port cites an on­go­ing short­age of leth­al-in­jec­tion drugs in sev­er­al states for 2013’s drop in ex­e­cu­tions. Cali­for­nia, North Car­o­lina, Arkan­sas, and Mary­land have not re­quired a death sen­tence in more than sev­en years “be­cause of their in­ab­il­ity to settle on a leth­al-in­jec­tion pro­tocol.” The re­port con­tin­ues:

In or­der to con­tin­ue ex­e­cu­tions, states such as Texas, Geor­gia, Mis­souri, and Ohio have turned to a con­tro­ver­sial source of ex­e­cu­tion drugs: com­pound­ing phar­ma­cies.”¦ To shield the sources of con­tro­ver­sial drugs from pub­lic scru­tiny, many states have re­sor­ted to secrecy, even de­clar­ing the com­pound­ing phar­ma­cies to be part of their an­onym­ous “ex­e­cu­tion team.” Such cen­sor­ship has at­trac­ted in­creas­ing ju­di­cial skep­ti­cism, with ex­e­cu­tions in Geor­gia and Flor­ida be­ing put on hold for ex­am­in­a­tion of the laws shield­ing makers of leth­al drugs.

The dif­fi­culty in pro­cur­ing ne­ces­sary drugs has also eli­cited vo­cal out­cry from law-en­force­ment of­fi­cials in some states where the death pen­alty is still on the books.

“Our sys­tem is com­pletely broken, and I don’t know how to say it more bluntly than that,” Arkan­sas At­tor­ney Gen­er­al Dustin McDaniel told Na­tion­al Journ­al in Oc­to­ber. “It’s a com­plete im­possib­il­ity. I can no more flap my arms and fly across the state than I can carry out an ex­e­cu­tion.”

Mary­land be­came the sixth state in six years to re­peal the death pen­alty, join­ing New Jer­sey, New York, New Mex­ico, Illinois, and Con­necti­c­ut. The re­port also high­lights find­ings that only 2 per­cent of U.S. counties have ac­coun­ted for more than half of all cases that lead to an ex­e­cu­tion since 1976.

What We're Following See More »
THE PLAN ALL ALONG?
Manchin Drops Objections, Clearing Way for Spending Deal
21 hours ago
THE LATEST

"The Senate standstill over a stopgap spending bill appeared headed toward a resolution on Friday night. Senators who were holding up the measure said votes are expected later in the evening. West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin had raised objections to the continuing resolution because it did not include a full year's extension of retired coal miners' health benefits," but Manchin "said he and other coal state Democrats agreed with Senate Democratic leaders during a caucus meeting Thursday that they would not block the continuing resolution, but rather use the shutdown threat as a way to highlight the health care and pension needs of the miners."

Source:
UNCLEAR WHAT CAUSED CHANGE OF HEART
Giuliani Out of Running For State
1 days ago
BREAKING

Donald Trump transition team announced Friday afternoon that top supporter Rudy Giuliani has taken himself out of the running to be in Trump's cabinet, though CNN previously reported that it was Trump who informed the former New York City mayor that he would not be receiving a slot. While the field had seemingly been narrowed last week, it appears to be wide open once again, with ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson the current favorite.

Source:
ALSO VICE-CHAIR OF TRUMP’S TRANSITION TEAM
Trump Taps Rep. McMorris Rodgers for Interior Secretary
1 days ago
BREAKING
SHUTDOWN LOOMING
House Approves Spending Bill
2 days ago
BREAKING

The House has completed it's business for 2016 by passing a spending bill which will keep the government funded through April 28. The final vote tally was 326-96. The bill's standing in the Senate is a bit tenuous at the moment, as a trio of Democratic Senators have pledged to block the bill unless coal miners get a permanent extension on retirement and health benefits. The government runs out of money on Friday night.

HEADS TO OBAMA
Senate Approves Defense Bill
2 days ago
THE LATEST

The Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act today, sending the $618 billion measure to President Obama. The president vetoed the defense authorization bill a year ago, but both houses could override his disapproval this time around.

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login