Decline of the Death Penalty in the U.S.

The climate surrounding the death penalty in the United States has been seeing some changes, according to a recent CNN article. According to the news story, death penalty executions in the U.S. have been on the decline, and that largely has to do with a shortage of the chemicals used for the carrying out the lethal injections.

CNN reported that there were only 39 executions in the U.S. in 2013, which is a 10% drop from the previous year. This low number marked the second time in a span of about 20 years that the number of executions nationwide went below 40. Seven of the 39 lethal injections performed this year took place in Florida, with the states of Florida and Texas being responsible for almost 60% of all injections performed, according to the article.

One major reason for the decline, as cited by CNN, is the United States' inability to access the legal injection chemicals that they used to use, which is leaving states scrambling to find alternative drug combinations and to set up new protocols for lethal injections. The lack of access is due to the fact that certain European-based manufacturers of these chemicals have prohibited the use of their products by prisons in the U.S.

Here are a couple of other interesting facts that were provided in the CNN article on the death penalty:

  • Since 1976 (when the Supreme Court allowed the continuation of capital punishment), 1,359 people in the U.S. been killed as a result of the death penalty--including lethal injections and other forms of execution. (This was as of the time of the article' publication, which was in December 2013.)
  • Capital punishment sentences were at historic lows--only 79 had been given throughout the year of 2013, as of December. Since 1996, the number of such sentences had dropped by 75%.
  • Over the past six years alone, six states banned the death penalty included Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Illinois. There are also many other states that have previously banned capital punishment.

Death-penalty cases are extremely serious matters, as the outcome of these cases are literally matters of life and death. Many people oppose the death penalty because of the fact that it is very possible for a defendant to receive a wrongful conviction in a death-penalty case, which can result in an innocent person being robbed of his or her life. Every now and then, a news story surfaces about how it is discovered that a death row inmate was found to be innocent through DNA evidence or other evidence. However, since the death penalty has not been banned in Florida, it is still a reality that residents of this state must deal with.

If you are facing criminal charges in a death-penalty case, you can turn to Taylor & Waldrop Attorneys for competent legal representation. We have a St. Augustine criminal defense lawyer who is among the few Florida attorneys who has been approved to handle these types of cases. Contact us for strong legal support!

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