Death sentences in Texas in 2015 hit a four decade low

22 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Death penalty lowest since 1991.

Executions in the United States have fallen from a peak 16 years ago to a quarter-century low, reflecting a broad change in public attitudes that has raised the hopes of death-penalty opponents, a report said Wednesday. The high cost of capital punishment and the option of life in prison without parole has led Texas to issue three death sentences in 2015, the lowest since the U.S.Use of the death penalty was reduced to just six states this year, and those states carried out the fewest number of executions in a single year since 1991, according to a report by the Death Penalty Information Center. BAnti-death penalty protesters rally outside of John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse during the official sentencing of Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokar Tsarnaev on June 24, 2015 ©Scott Eisen (Getty/AFP/File) Total executions have fallen by 20 percent since last year, from 35 to 28, the fewest since 1991.

As of Dec. 15, 28 death row inmates were executed in the U.S., said the non-profit DPIC, which says it tracks data about capital punishment but does not take a position on the issue. Nationwide in 2015, executions dropped to their lowest level in 24 years, and the number of new death sentences imposed fell sharply from already historic lows, the center found. Meanwhile 49 death sentences were imposed by 14 states and the federal government this year, down from 73 imposed in 2014, according to the report released Wednesday. One factor behind the downward trend is a shortage of the drugs widely used in lethal injections, which pharmaceutical firms, most of them European, have refused to supply for this purpose.

The costs of a death penalty prosecution, including appeals and investigations, can be at least double those of housing an inmate for life and are usually far higher, according to data cited by the Marshall Project, a nonprofit newsgroup that focuses on U.S. criminal justice. A Supreme Court decision in June let Oklahoma go forward with the execution despite the planned use of the chemical midazolam, a sedative that Glossip’s attorneys argued is ineffective at preventing a person from feeling pain, in its three-drug lethal injection cocktail. Gross case. “At the very least, the Court should call for full briefing on the basic question.” Oklahoma officials later halted Glossip’s execution just hours before he was set to be put to death after a mix-up in the three-drug cocktail was discovered. Correll’s execution — for brutally stabbing four people, including his 5-year-old daughter — was the 22nd to take place in the death chamber at Florida State Prison since Scott took office in 2011.

The first — Oscar Ray Bolin, Jr., convicted of three murders in the Tampa Bay area in 1986 — is slated for Jan. 7, but Bolin’s attorneys are seeking a stay from the Florida Supreme Court. Florida is the only state in which a jury can recommend a death sentence by a bare majority of seven of 12 jurors without also having to unanimously agree on aggravating circumstances to justify the ultimate punishment. As Florida becomes more obviously an outlier, its practices will face increased scrutiny.” Legislation has been filed for the 2016 session to require unanimous jury recommendations in Florida, but Republican lawmakers don’t appear eager to take up the bills.

If the court deems Florida’s practices unconstitutional, the decision has the potential to throw an unknown number of cases into upheaval — a figure death penalty experts, like Dunham, are still attempting to quantify.

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