Will Executions Continue To Decline?


If there were such a thing as a golden age of capital punishment in America, it peaked in 1999, says Time magazine. There were 98 executions that year, the highest number since 1976, when the Supreme Court, which had overturned all death penalty laws in 1972, began approving them again. Last year saw just 37 executions in the U.S., with only 111 death sentences handed down. The practice of carrying out executions is limited almost entirely to the South, where all but two of last year’s executions took place. (The exceptions were both in Ohio.)

Death penalty opponents say the use of DNA evidence, which has led to prisoners being released from death row, is a big part of the reason for the decline in executions generally. A Maryland commission voted 13-9 to recommend that the death penalty should be abolished. Sen. Lisa Gladden, a who chairs the committee considering it, thinks this is the year it will happen. Blogger Mark Obbie of Syracuse University’s journalism school calls Time’s story “a bad case of trend-hyping,” noting its “complete reliance on death penalty foes as sources.”

Comments are closed.