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November 18, 2008

Busy pre-holiday weeks for executions

Among many holiday season traditions is a traditional slow down in the number of executions nationwide.  For various reasons, executions are rarely scheduled for the week of Thanksgiving or during the 12 days of Christmas.  But this reality can often mean a large number of executions just before the typical holiday season slow down.

This year, as detailed in this DPIC list of scheduled executions, we are on pace for an extraordinary pre-holiday rush of executions.  Specifically, there are five executions scheduled in three different states for  this pre-Turkey week (three in Texas and one in Kentucky and in Ohio).  And the week after Thanksgiving, there are four executions scheduled in four different states (Georgia, Louisiana, Tennessee and Washington).  I doubt that all nine of these executions will go forward, though I suspect most will. 

Interestingly, as detailed by this DPIC chart, if any one of these nine scheduled executions gets delayed, the total number of executions in 2008 will be the lowest since 1994.  Of course, the Baze litigation, which prevented any executions from going forward before May, largely explains the low number of total executions in 2008.  Nevertheless, given various predictions that there would be a rush of executions after Baze settled basic constitutional questions surrounding lethal injection protocols, the continued reduction in the number of executions annually remains noteworthy and significant.

November 18, 2008 at 08:24 AM | Permalink

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