Texas has accounted for half of the executions in the U.S. so far this year, but the state gave lethal injections to far fewer inmates than last year, mirroring a national trend of fewer death sentences being carried out, says the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram. Eighteen inmates were executed in Texas this year compared with 26 last year, while 37 inmates were put to death nationally, with no more expected for the remainder of the year, says the Death Penalty Information Center, which opposes executions. This year’s total is a 12 percent drop from the 42 executed nationally in 2007.
The center says that as the nation struggles with a recession, the death penalty is being examined more closely because of its high costs. The executions all took place after April 16, following a U.S. Supreme Court decision that upheld the lethal injection process in a Kentucky case. The center estimates that the total number of death sentences this year will be 111, continuing a decline that started at the beginning of the decade. William “Rusty” Hubbarth of Austin, a death penalty supporter, said the 2008 data “are not a correlation to anything other than we were not allowed to execute anyone for four or five months.” Hubbarth is vice president of Justice For All.