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Will the U.S. Finally End the Death Penalty?

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In the past, abolition efforts have faced a backlash—but Gavin Newsom’s moratorium may be different.
The American death penalty is extraordinarily fragile, with death sentences and executions on the decline. Public support for the death penalty has diminished. The practice is increasingly marginalized around the world. California, with its disproportionately large share of American death-row inmates, announces an end to the death penalty. The year? 1972. That’s when the California Supreme Court declared the death penalty inconsistent with the state’s constitutional prohibition of cruel or unusual punishments—only to have the death penalty restored a year later through popular initiative and legislation.
On Wednesday, again, California walked back its commitment to the death penalty. Though not full-fledged abolition, Governor Gavin Newsom declared a moratorium on capital punishment lasting as long as his tenure in office, insisting that the California death penalty has been an “abject…

One of the busiest death chambers in the US is fine-tuning its executions

Oklahoma's death chamber
Oklahoma holds one of the busiest death chambers in the US, but for the third year in a row, it has not carried out an execution.

The state—one of more than 30 in the US that has the death penalty—isn’t dialing back on the number of inmates it condemns to death. 

Instead, prison officials and state attorneys are trying to fine-tune its execution procedures after a series of blunders.

A number of botched executions resulted in 2014 being dubbed the worst year in history for the lethal injection. 

In 2015, Oklahoma used a wrong drug in its lethal-injection cocktail to execute Charles Warner—the first known instance of such a mix-up in the US. 

That same year, an inmate was moments away from execution before officials realized its lethal injection also had the wrong formula.

In a statement given to the Associated Press, Republican governor Mary Fallin said the “most solemn responsibility for a state is the taking of a life.”

“The state needs to be certain that its protocols and procedures for executions work,” she added while throwing support behind Oklahoma’s attorney general and Department of Corrections director to carry out these changes.

Currently, 47 of the total 2,817 death-row inmates awaiting execution in the US are in Oklahoma.

Source: Quartz, Lianna Brinded, December 28, 2017


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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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