Saturday, December 20, 2008
End of Year Reports
Death Penalty Sentences Have Dropped Considerably in the Current Decade
Posted: December 19, 2008
Compared to the 1990’s, there has been a marked decline in death sentences in the U.S. since 2000. Every region of the country and every state that averaged one or more death sentences per year have seen a decline in the annual number of death sentences. The chart below compares the annual number of death sentences in each state in the 1990s with the 2000s. North Carolina, California, Florida, and Texas experienced the greatest declines in sentencing. This issue and others are addressed in the Death Penalty Information Center’s Year End Report, released December 11, 2008.
From Karl Keys
In the news, the end of the year round-ups have commenced. The good news? Texas. Yes, Texas. This year Teas has averaged a new death sentence every 40 days or so, the slowest rate in decades (three decades). While the future might be brighter, Texas was again an outlier in terms of executions, accounting for half of all people put to death nationwide in 2008. TCADP has the details in Texas Death Penalty Developments in 2008.
In other news, DPIC notes "a new study published in the Houston Law Review, "Racial Disparities in the Capital of Capital Punishment," explores the relationship of race to death sentencing in Harris County (Houston), Texas. In the study, Prof. Scott Phillips of the University of Denver explores patterns involving the race of both victims and defendants, while controlling for other variables." In a high profile military prosecution, SSgt Alberto Martinez was acquitted over the alleged "fragging" of two officers. South Carolina carried out the final execution of 2008, on Friday evening, that of Joseph Gardner; the 37th execution of 2008; the 1,136th since 1977.
Finally, one of my favorite public defenders and bloggers, Randall Hodgkinson @ the Kansas Defenders pithily summed up the state of indigent defense better than anyone I know: As a matter of constitutional law and legal ethics, quality representation for the poor is not negotiable. If the state doesn't want to pay for indigent defense, it needs to prosecute fewer people (or at least fewer poor people).
For The End of the Year 2008 Report from Death Penalty Focus/DPIC RELEASE CLICK
Please add your own reports/URLS/response to Comments below.
Posted by CN at 7:05 AM