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IMPORTANT LANDMARKS IN THE HISTORY OF THE US DEATH PENALTY

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IMPORTANT LANDMARKS IN THE HISTORY OF THE US DEATH PENALTY

- 1972: the death penalty was suspended by US Supreme Court (Furman v. Georgia)

- 1976: the death penalty was reintroduced by US Supreme Court (Gregg v. Georgia)

- 1999: the year when most people were executed in the US: 98

- April 2008: a brief nationwide moratorium on executions ended by US Supreme Court

the debate: does death by a 3-drug injection constitute cruel and unusual punishment?

the ruling: it does not = Baze v. Rees

The 8th amendment to the US Constitution:

“Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted”

IMPORTANT FACTS AND DATA ABOUT THE DEATH PENALTY IN THE US.

General facts

There are 28 states in the US that still have the death penalty on their books

- 98 people were executed in 1999 and ever since the numbers of executions have decreased

- the number of death sentences per year has dropped dramatically since 1996

1996: 45 - 2000: 85 - 2011: 43 - 2018: 25 - 2019: 20 - Nov 2020: 15

- the total number of executions since 1976: 1527

- the average time inmates spend on death row is 12 years.

- the race of defendants executed:

White: 56% Black: 34% Hispanic: 8.5 % Other: 1.5%

Important: the population distribution in the US by race/ethnicity

WHITE 61% BLACK 12% HISPANIC 18% ASIAN 6% OTHERS 3%

Exonerations.

To exonerate: to remove any blame from a person previously accused and convicted of an offence.

Since 1973, more than 160 people have been released from death row with

evidence of their innocence

- From 1973-1999, there was an average of 3 exonerations per year.

- From 2000-2011, there was an average of 5 exonerations per year

How to explain that?

=Improvements in forensic technologies to prove guilt or innocence

Forensic = the application of scientific methods to investigate a crime (forensic medicine

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