The United States Supreme Court imposed two important restrictions on the use of the death penalty. First, the case of Atkins v. Virginia, decided on June 20, 2002, considered the execution of prisoners with intellectual disabilities to be unconstitutional.
Second, in 2005, the court’s decision in Roper v. Simmons overturned executions for offenders under 18 at the time of the crime. In the case of 2008, Kennedy v. Louisiana, the court also held 5-4 that the death penalty is unconstitutional when applied to non-homicidal crimes against the person, including child rape.
Only two death row inmates (both in Louisiana) were affected by the decision. However, the decision came less than five months before the 2008 presidential election and was criticized by leading party candidates Barack Obama and John McCain. Revocation movements and legal challengesIn 2004, the New York and Kansas capital sentence schemes were overturned by their respective higher courts.
Since then, the state’s lower house
Kansas has successfully appealed the Kansas Supreme Court decision to the United States Supreme Court, which reinstated Kansas v. Marsh (2006), maintaining that it did not violate the United States Constitution. The New York Court of Appeals ruling was based on the constitution of the state, making any appeal unavailable. Since then, the state’s lower house has blocked all attempts to reinstate the death penalty by adopting a valid sentence scheme .
In 2016, the death penalty statute in Delaware was also overturned by its state supreme court. 0 In 2007, New Jersey became the first state to revoke the death penalty by legislative vote since Gregg v. Georgia, followed by New Mexico in 2009, Illinois in 2011, Connecticut in 2012, 6 and Maryland in 2013. 7 The revocations were not retroactive, but in New Jersey, Illinois and Maryland, governors converted all death sentences after the new law was enacted. In Connecticut, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that the revocation should be retroactive.
New Mexico is the only state with remaining prisoners on death row and without civilian death penalty status for capital crimes committed after the revocation.
The death penalty for certain crimes is still possible for members of the United States National Guard under Title 32 of the New Mexico Military Code of Justice (NMSA 20-12), and for capital crimes committed before the revocation of the death penalty status. death in New Mexico. 49 50 The Nebraska legislature also approved a repeal in 2015, but a referendum campaign gathered enough signatures to suspend it. The death penalty was reinstated by popular vote on November 8, 2016.
the California electorate defeated a proposal to revoke
The same day, the California electorate defeated a proposal to revoke the death penalty and adopted another initiative to accelerate its appeals process . On October 11, 2018, Washington State became the 20th state to abolish the death penalty when the Washington Supreme Court found the death penalty unconstitutional on the basis of racial bias .
New Hampshire became the 21st state to abolish the death penalty on May 30, 2019, when the New Hampshire Senate overturned Governor Chris Sununu’s veto by 16 to 8. Since Furman, 11 states have organized popular votes on the death penalty through the initiative and referendum process.
- All resulted in a vote to reinstate it, reject its abolition, expand its field of application, specify in the state constitution that it is not unconstitutional or accelerate the appeal process in capital cases .
- States that abolished the death penalty21 states, in addition to the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, have abolished the death penalty for all crimes. Below is a table of the 21 states and the year the state abolished the death penalty .
Michigan became the first English-speaking territory the world to abolish the death penalty in 1847. Although treason remained a crime punishable by the death penalty in Michigan, despite the abolition of 1847, no one was ever executed under that law, and the Michigan Constitutional Convention of 1962 codified that the death penalty has been completely abolished. 6From 1976 to February 21, 2020, there were 1,516 executions, of which 1,336 were by lethal injection, 163 by electrocution, 11 by gas inhalation, 3 by hanging and 3 by firing squad. 6 The South had the vast majority of these executions, with 1,241; there were 186 in the Midwest, 85 in the West and only 4 in the Northeast.
The death penalty became a problem during the 1988
No state in the Northeast has carried out an execution since Connecticut, now an abolitionist, in 2005. The state of Texas alone carried out 569 executions, more than 1/3 of the total; the states of Texas, Virginia and Oklahoma account for more than half of the total, with 794 executions among them. 6 3 executions were conducted by the federal government, the last in 2003. Executions increased in frequency until 1999; 98 prisoners were executed that year.
Since 1999, the number of executions has decreased significantly and the 20 executions in 2016 have been the fewest since 1991. There has been a small increase since 2016, with 22 executions in 2019. 1 The death penalty became a problem during the 1988 presidential election. It arose in the October 13, 1988 debate between two presidential candidates George HW Bush and Michael Dukakis, when Bernard Shaw, the moderator of the debate, asked Dukakis: ” Governor, if Kitty Dukakis your wife were raped and murdered, would you favor an irrevocable death penalty for the murderer?
” Dukakis replied, “No, no, and I think you know that I have opposed the death penalty all my life. I don’t see any evidence that this is an impediment and I think there are better and more effective ways to deal with violent crimes. . ” Bush was elected and many, including Dukakis himself, cite the statement as the beginning of the end of his campaign. 6 In 1996, the United States Congress passed the 1996 Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act to streamline the appeals process in capital cases. The bill was signed by President Bill Clinton, who had endorsed the death penalty during his 1992 presidential campaign.