« "That is Enough Punishment: Situating Defunding the Police within Antiracist Sentencing Reform" | Main | "Drug Supervision" »

May 15, 2021

After historic hiatus, state execution plans and practices back in the news

A lengthy break in state executions has been one of many notable impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on criminal justice systems.  Indeed, as this Death Penalty Information Center analysis explains, the United States is in the midst of "the longest period in 40 years without any state carrying out an execution." (Of course, as DPIC also notes, at the federal level, the Trump administration during this period launched "the longest and most sustained execution spree in the modern history of the U.S. death penalty [as it] carried out 13 consecutive executions between July 14, 2020 and January 16, 2021, the most consecutive executions by any jurisdiction since capital punishment resumed in the U.S. in the 1970.")

After an historic hiatus, there are now serious execution dates scheduled over the next few weeks in Texas (May 19 for Quintin Jones) and Idaho (June 2 for Gerald Ross Pizzuto Jr.).  And it seems that a few other states are also growing eager to get their death machinery back into operation.  Consequentially, as detailed by the links and headlines below, state capital punishment practices are again generating news:

From the AP, "Idaho death row inmate asks Supreme Court to stop execution"

From the AP, "Nebraska death sentences continue despite not having execution drugs"

From CBS News, "Quintin Jones is on death row for killing his great-aunt. The victim's sister is pleading for clemency."

From Fox News, "South Carolina to bring back firing squads for executions"

From The Marshall Project, "They Are Terminally Ill. States Want To Execute Them Anyway."

From NBC News, "Rush of Arkansas executions that included Ledell Lee's comes under renewed scrutiny"

May 15, 2021 at 10:55 AM | Permalink


Someone dying and someone where the sister of the victim says he shouldn't be executed. Nice choices to re-start state executions.

Executions are generally arbitrary things but if you actually believe in the concept, neither are great options, unless the one is basically state supported euthanasia.

The other is the execution for a horrible murder but even if you grant it is a good case of sentencing on the front end [dubious as compared to some on death row], twenty years later, it is a lousy choice. Not executing him provides incentives to those inside. As he notes:

"I know instead of dying on the 19th, I'll die years later. But it won't be in the free world. It'll be in prison. And I can accept that because there's other avenues in prison that I can take to better myself and better others along the way," he said.

Personally, given he is in his 40s now, I don't think it is bad if he eventually gets out. Twenty or more years in prison is reasonable punishment for a murder. But, the fact he won't be released is another thing to mix in there.

Posted by: Joe | May 15, 2021 1:48:40 PM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB