ATLANTA – Executions in the United States have
been on a fairly steady decline in recent years,
dropping to 28 last year — the lowest since
1991. A peak of 98 came in 1999.
Difficulty obtaining lethal injection drugs after
many manufacturers stopped selling their
products for use in executions has made it
tough for some states to execute existing death
row inmates. Other reasons for the decline
include better legal representation for those
facing the death penalty, life-in-prison
sentences without parole, and the high cost of
death penalty prosecutions.
Georgia is set to execute its oldest death row
inmate Tuesday. Brandon Astor Jones, 72, was
convicted in the 1979 killing of convenience
store manager Roger Tackett. Van Roosevelt
Solomon, who was also convicted and
sentenced to death for the killing, was
executed in Georgia’s electric chair in February
Here’s a look at some death penalty facts and
WHO ALLOWS THE DEATH PENALTY?
Capital punishment is legal in 31 states. But
only six states — Florida, Georgia, Missouri,
Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia — carried out
executions in 2015. Texas had the most with
13, followed by Missouri with six and Georgia
Michigan has the longest-standing ban on the
death penalty; the state did away with capital
punishment in 1846. Seven states have
abolished the death penalty in the past 10
years: Nebraska (2015), Maryland (2013),
Connecticut (2012), Illinois (2011), New
Mexico (2009), New Jersey (2007) and New
But Nebraska’s ban faces a test. Death penalty
supporters launched a successful drive to get
the issue on this year’s general election ballot.
And New Mexico’s ban wasn’t retroactive,
leaving two people on death row.
Over the past decade, the number of
executions has fallen pretty steadily in the U.S.
The last execution of 2007 was in September in
Texas; after that, executions were effectively
halted for about seven months while U.S.
Supreme Court considered a challenge to a
lethal injection method. The court in April
2008 upheld the method, and executions
resumed with a May 2008 death in Georgia.
That timeline helps explain why the number of
executions nationwide dipped more
dramatically in 2007 and 2008 and then
increased for 2009.
EXECUTION DRUGS AND SECRECY LAWS
States have scrambled in recent years to find
sources of lethal injection drugs after
pharmaceutical manufacturers, many of them
in Europe, stopped selling their products for
use in executions, citing ethical concerns. That
has led a number of states to enact laws that
shield the identities of their drug suppliers.
The states say pharmacies and companies that
are willing to make the drugs fear retaliation
from death penalty opponents if their
identities are made public.
Information on numbers of executions carried
out in each state and years of capital
punishment bans comes from the Death
Penalty Information Center, which tracks
issues related to capital punishment.More news at >>>