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Capital Punishment in the United States Explained

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In our Explainer series, Fair Punishment Project lawyers help unpackage some of the most complicated issues in the criminal justice system. We break down the problems behind the headlines - like bail, civil asset forfeiture, or the Brady doctrine - so that everyone can understand them. Wherever possible, we try to utilize the stories of those affected by the criminal justice system to show how these laws and principles should work, and how they often fail. We will update our Explainers monthly to keep them current. Read our updated explainer here.
To beat the clock on the expiration of its lethal injection drug supply, this past April, Arkansas tried to execute 8 men over 1 days. The stories told in frantic legal filings and clemency petitions revealed a deeply disturbing picture. Ledell Lee may have had an intellectual disability that rendered him constitutionally ineligible for the death penalty, but he had a spate of bad lawyers who failed to timely present evidence of this claim -…

USA: 19 States Have Outlawed the Death Penalty

Gathering signatures against the Nebraska death penalty repeal
Gathering signatures against the Nebraska death penalty repeal
Capital punishment is currently illegal in 19 states plus the District of Columbia.

During Election 2016, voters in 3 states showed support for the death penalty:

California. Voters rejected Proposition 62, which would have repealed the state's death penalty. This was the 2nd time in 4 years that California voters decided to keep the death penalty on the books.

In Nebraska, voters overturned an earlier decision by the state legislature to abolish capital punishment. Referendum 426 preserved the death penalty by repealing the legislature's 2015 motion to abolish capital punishment.

In Oklahoma, where capital punishment was already legal, voters approved State Question 776, which constitutionalized the death penalty.

Michigan was the 1st state to outlaw the death penalty, and they did so back in 1846. By 1911, only 3 other states had followed suit (Maine, Minnesota, and Wisconsin). No other states abolished the practice until 1957.

Since that time, there have been 3 waves of state bans on capital punishment. 

5 states acted between 1957 and 1965 (Alaska, Hawaii, Vermont, Iowa, and West Virginia), 3 more states plus the District of Columbia followed suit between 1973 and 1984 (North Dakota, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island), and 7 more joined the list in the past decade (New York, New Jersey, New Mexico, Illinois, Connecticut, Maryland, and Delaware). The Delaware Supreme Court struck down capital punishment as unconstitutional in August 2016.

4 states technically allow the death penalty, but their governors have imposed a moratorium on the practice (Colorado, Pennsylvania, Oregon, and Washington).

Source: newsmax.com, Scott Rasmussen, July 8, 2017. The author is a Senior Fellow for the Study of Self-Governance at the King's College in New York and an Editor-At-Large for Ballotpedia, the Encyclopedia of American Politics.

­čöÄ For state by state information (states with and without the death penalty), see here (Death Penalty Information Center).

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Comments

  1. Isn't there a federal death penalty. So outlawing it in a state is nice but still ppl can be executed from those state by the federal government

    ReplyDelete

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