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January 8, 2007

What's the over/under on executions for 2007?

The over/under on tonight's big game right now is set at 46.  Were I a betting man, I would take the over.  But if 46 was set as an over/under for the number of executions in the United States in 2007, I probably would take the under. 

As shown here, though the number of executions has declined in recent years, the US still has averaged more than 50+ executions each year for the last dozen years.  Yet, heading into 2007, there are many new legal dynamics likely to drive down the number of executions; lethal injection debate and litigation, some new administrations, and continued Supreme Court engagement all could significantly reduce how many executions are carried out in 2007.

But, as spotlighted by ODPI in posts here and here, the death penalty landscape is probably more impacted by evolving political realities than legal issues.  If elected officials (including state judges) discover they can disrupt marches to death chambers without serious political fall-out, there could be amazingly few executions (except perhaps in Texas) throughout 2007.

January 8, 2007 at 10:01 AM | Permalink


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We've got five executions in Texas in January alone, so I think I'd take over on both the game and the DP question.

Posted by: Gritsforbreakfast | Jan 8, 2007 10:36:01 AM

One of the Texas guys scheduled to die has been under a death sentence for 30 years. Two more executions in Texas in the near future are for men with well over two decades "on the row".

Posted by: federalist | Jan 8, 2007 12:26:25 PM

I'm not sure that matters, federalist, on the over/under. We've also got five more scheduled to die in February and March. You start out with ten in three months from ONE state, and the over/under on 46 seems like a gimme. Figure Texas winds up in the 20s or so by itself, easy. (Perhaps it'd be a bit too macabre to start a pool.)

If it's close, it also might depend on who you count. Should the Texan who recently committed suicide hours before his scheduled execution, scrawling "I didn't do it" in his own blood on the walls of his cell, count toward the total? Quien sabe?

On the football game tonight, I'll waffle, but predict this: if it's over 46 OSU wins, if it's a defensive battle, it's Florida.

In any event I'll root for the Buckeyes tonight, Doc, on your behalf (and because they whipped my Horns this year).

And btw, I know how you law profs get: If after an OSU victory you paticipate in any rioting, looting or burning of vehicles as part of the victory celebrations, e.g., be sure to get pics for the blog. ;) Go Buckeyes!

Posted by: Gritsforbreakfast | Jan 8, 2007 4:45:36 PM

Using the currently projected 1st quarter 2007 "serious execution dates" & assuming no major unexpected events, the rate looks to be approximately 70-75 for 2007, although my predictions in recent years tend to be markedly too high. The variables that can’t be figured out are the continuing LI saga (holding up approx. 10-12 executions), the effect of Nelson v. Quarterman (5th Cir) on the Texas execution rates, as well as the influence of several pending SCOTUS cases that could dramatically lower the numbers of executions in the second half of the year.

Posted by: karl | Jan 8, 2007 5:25:21 PM

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