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November 3, 2008

More evidence that the death penalty is dying a slow death on the front lines

One datum showing the slow death of the modern American death penalty is the very low number of executions nationwide. (There has not been in more than a few executions in 2008 in any state other than Texas.)  But an even clearer indication that the death penalty is dying a slow death comes from data showing the reduction of death penalty indictments brought by prosecutors and death sentences imposed by juries.  These realities are reflected in this local article from my hometown paper, which is headlined "Death-penalty cases in Franklin County becoming rarer." Here is some data from the article:

Of 106 death-penalty indictments in Franklin County since 2000, only three have resulted in a death sentence. No defendant has been sent to Death Row from the county since 2003....

Death-penalty jurors in Franklin County have been far more inclined to give sentences of life in prison than death. Of 52 death-penalty cases heard by juries since 2000, 20 resulted in life in prison without parole for the defendants, three in a death sentence and the rest in other sentences.

November 3, 2008 at 07:57 AM | Permalink


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I'm curious as to why you think this is happening.

Posted by: | Nov 3, 2008 8:56:29 AM

the main reason this is happening, in my opinion, is that states have enacted life without parole statutes and jurors are finally believing that life without parole means just that. It wasn't that long ago that we would try a case and invariably a note would come out of the jury room after a couple hours of deliberation in which the jury would ask if a defendant who received a sentence of life in prison would ever be eligible for parole release.

bruce cunningham

Posted by: | Nov 3, 2008 5:42:07 PM

The chief reasons that the DP is dying is that defense lawyers now define "winning" as getting a life verdict while prosecutors define it as getting a guilty verdict, the so-called "Colorado voir dire" method, catholics, and of course 200+ dna exonerations.

Posted by: withheld | Nov 3, 2008 9:32:53 PM

IMO, I think the reason this is happening is because of "evolving standards of decency." Take a look at the last SC case on DP for rapists.

Posted by: | Nov 10, 2008 4:06:28 PM

people are confusing church with state. if their guilty then through the book at them. do not let them get off with continuing to live life even in a jail cell while they have taken one. give the conviction of death and don't be scared of god judging you at the end of your life. what if it was a loved one they have taken, its time to retaliate then? Oh no, its its someone elses, no big deal... The ABA should find the flaws and fix them. No more life sentences. No more get out of jails after a sentence. Give them what they deserve if their guilty of cold blooded murder. their own life should then be taken.

Posted by: jess | Mar 6, 2009 2:16:34 PM


Posted by: uiuiu | Mar 2, 2010 2:21:51 PM

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