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Capital punishment

 

There were 98 executions in the United States in 1999; the highest number since the reinstatement of capital punishment. Forty-five U.S. prisoners were executed in 1996, bringing the total number of persons executed since the death penalty was resumed in 1977 to 432.—Death Penalty information Center.

executions

The states with the most executions (1997 figures) are: Texas (143), Virginia (44), Florida (39), Missouri (29), and Louisiana (24).—Amnesty International.

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Thirty-eight of the 50 states allow the death penalty in law; the death penalty is also allowed under U.S. federal military and civilian law.—Amnesty International.

Methods of execution in the U.S. are: lethal injection (283), electric chair (132), gas chamber (9), hanging (3), firing squad (2).—Amnesty International.

Two states, Idaho and Utah, still authorize the firing squad. The prisoner is strapped in a chair, hooded, and a target is pinned to the chest. Five executioners, one with blanks, take aim and fire.—American Civil Liberties Union.

Public executions were common in this country during the 19th century; one of the last was in 1936 when 20,000 people gathered to watch a young African American male hanged.—American Civil Liberties Union.

Capital cases are the costliest of criminal cases. The expense of putting someone to death is greater than keeping them in prison.—The Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy.

It costs $30,000 per year to house an inmate on death row as opposed to $15,000 for a non-capital inmate.—The New York State Defenders Association via the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy.

International human rights agreements prohibit the execution of anyone under 18 years old at the time of the offense. Nevertheless five countries since 1990 are known to have executed prisoners who were under 18: Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, U.S., and Yemen. The majority of known executions of juvenile offenders has been in the U.S. (six since 1990).—Amnesty International.

As in previous years, a small number of countries accounted for the vast majority of global executions. Amnesty International received reports of 3,500 executions in China, 167 executions in the Ukraine, 140 executions in the Russian Federation, and 110 executions in Iran.—Amnesty International.

 

Fairly administered?

A study of racial discrimination in capital cases in Georgia showed that "the average odds of receiving a death sentence among all indicted cases were 4.3 times higher in cases with white victims."—American Civil Liberties Union.

During the 1980s
and early 1990s, only about one percent of those on death row were women. (Women commit about 18 percent of all criminal homicides.)—American Civil Liberties Union.

Of those executed since 1976, only one has been female—"Capital Punishment for Female Offenders," Cleveland Marshall College of Law via the Kentucky Department of Public Advocacy.

Approximately 90 percent of those on death row could not afford to hire a lawyer when they were tried.—American Civil Liberties Union.


History of the death penalty in the U.S.
Suspended sentence: how the U.S. almost put capital punishment to death

 

More Capital Punishment Resources

NCCB/USCC call for suspension of federal death penalty

Recent NCCB/USCC positions on the death penalty

Catholics Against Capital Punishment: Besides promoting Catholic Church teachings on capital punishment, the site informs constituents where Catholic lawmakers stand on the issue.

The Death Penalty Information Center: A non-profit organization serving the media and public, the center offers up-to-date analysis and information on issues concerning capital punishment.

Angel on death row: A part of the PBS site, the page explores the real life cases behind the movie "Dead Man Walking."

The American Civil Liberties Union: Articles and other materials on the death penalty.

Amnesty International—Against the Death Penalty: With facts and figures on the death penalty, the site provides information on capital punishment here in the U.S. and around the world.

Amnesty International—1997 Executions: Along with 1997 statistics on the death penalty in the U.S., the site documents 1997 executions and executions pending.

Capital Punishment Quiz : Amnesty International has created an online quiz to bolster society's knowledge of the death penalty. Go ahead, test yourself
Death Penalty Information and Resources: statistics on capital punishment and death row inmates dating back to 1977—and a statement to abolish the death penalty from the Catholic Bishops of Texas.

Death Penalty Law Materials: Besides offering legal information, this site lists the states that do and do not employ capital sentencing, explores the Eighth Amendment, and looks at recent and historic Supreme Court death penalty decisions.

ABOLITION NOW!!!: includes a list of those executed after 1976 despite evidence of innocence. It also gives a list of persons on death row despite evidence of innocence.

Washington Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty: A coalition of 21 community, religious, and legal organizations posts its quarterly newsletter here to increase opposition to the death penalty.

The Lamp of Hope Project: This organization was founded and is primarily administered by Texas Death Row prisoners. It hopes to educate the public about the death penalty.

Capital Post-Conviction Unit: informs defendants who have been sentenced to death where direct representation in post-conviction proceedings can be found.


Supreme Court Death Penalty Cases
: Check out a listing—and syllabus—of all the death penalty cases that have been brought before the high court since 1990.
t of the Earth
U.S. executions
1930
1931
1932
1933
1934
1935
1936
1937
1938
1939
1940
1941
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1943
1944
1945
1946
1947
1948
1949
1950
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1979
1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990
1991
1992
1993
1994
1995
1996
1997
1998
1999

155
153
140
160
168
199
195
147
190
160
124
123
147
131
120
117
131
153
119
119
82
105
83
62
81
76
65
65
49
49
56
42
47
21
15
7
1
2
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
2
0
1
2
5
21
18
18
25
11
16
23
14
31
27
31
56
45
74
68
98