Thursday, December 11, 2008

Executions and Death Sentences Declining

The Death Penalty Information Center has issued a year end report which indicates that the number of death sentences imposed in the United States this year is at or near a three decade low. The Center also reports that in all of 2008 a total of 37 executions were carried out and no more are expected to be carried out this year. This is the lowest number since 1994. The Center also estimates that the total number of death sentences imposed this year was 111. There were 115 death sentences imposed in 2007. The 2007 number is more than 60 percent lower than from 1998. This drop illustrates how big the decline has been. It is important to note that the Death Penalty Information Center is opposed to the death penalty. They point out in their report that the death penalty has become a regional phenomenon. All but four of the executions this year happened in the South and Texas. A full half of the executions were carried out in Texas alone where 18 prisoners were executed. It will be interesting to see if this trend continues. All of the executions in 2008 occurred after April 16, which is when a de facto moratorium had been imposed on the death penalty pending a decision by the United States Supreme Court on the constitutionality of the use of lethal injection. Experts expected that it would take a little time for the pace to pick up by there is evidence that this trend may continue. The reason is in the drop in the number of death sentences imposed. The ban was only on executions and not on the imposition of the death penalty. The drop in the imposition of the death penalty is proof that this decline in executions may be long term.

For more information about the Chicago criminal defense lawyers at Legal Defenders, P.C., visit us at or call us anytime at 1-800-228-7295.

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