There are new signs that America may be losing its taste for capital punishment, reports USA Today. Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy is poised to sign a bill repealing the death penalty in that state. A separate proposal has qualified for the November ballot in California that would shut down the largest death row in the country and convert inmates’ sentences to life without parole. And the National Research concluded last week that there have been no reliable studies to show that capital punishment is a deterrent to homicide.
That study, which does not take a position on capital punishment, follows a Gallup Poll last fall found support for the death penalty had slipped to 61% nationally, the lowest level in 39 years. Even in Texas, which has long projected the harshest face of the U.S. criminal justice system, there has been a marked shift. Last year, the state’s 13 executions marked the lowest number in 15 years. And this year, the state — the perennial national leader in executions — is scheduled to carry out 10. Capital punishment proponents say the general decline in death sentences and executions in recent years is merely a reflection of the sustained drop in violent crime, but some lawmakers and legal analysts say the numbers underscore a growing wariness of wrongful convictions.