Many reject the inconsistency with which the death penalty is applied in the United States across the country in Kennedy v. 2008. In Louisiana, the court also ruled 5-4 that the death penalty is unconstitutional when applied to non-lethal crimes against the person, including child rape. Only two death row inmates (both in Louisiana) were affected by the decision.  Nevertheless, the verdict came less than five months before the 2008 presidential election and was criticized by the party`s two leading candidates, Barack Obama and John McCain.  This map shows which U.S. states still have the death penalty and which have abolished or temporarily banned it. The frequency of executions also varies considerably from country to country. Texas has killed 573 people since 1976, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. Virginia ranks second with 113 executions during that period, followed by Oklahoma with 112, Florida with 99 and Missouri with 90. Three states abolished the death penalty for murder in the 19th century: Michigan (which has never executed a prisoner since becoming stated), in 1847, Wisconsin in 1853, and Maine in 1887. Rhode Island is also a state with a long history of abolitionism that abolished the death penalty in 1852, although it was theoretically available for murders committed by a prisoner between 1872 and 1984.
Note that Colorado and New Hampshire have prospectively abolished the death penalty. In Colorado, the governor commuted the sentences of death row inmates, but defendants whose cases were pending at the time of abolition are still entitled to execution and the implementing law is still in effect. In New Hampshire, one person is still on death row. Opinions on the death penalty vary by party, education, race and ethnicity. Republicans and Republican-leaning independents are far more likely than Democrats and Democrats to support the death penalty for convicted murderers (77% vs. 46%). Those with less formal education are also more willing to support it: about two-thirds of those with a high school diploma or less (68%) support the death penalty, compared to 63% of those with a college education, 49% of those with a bachelor`s degree and 44% of those with a postgraduate degree. Majorities of white adults (63%), Asian adults (63%) and Hispanics (56%) support the death penalty, but black adults are also divided, with 49% in favor and 49% against. “The statistics illustrating the glaring shortcomings of the death penalty must be repeated here. It`s racist – you`re four times more likely to be sentenced to death if you`re black than if you`re white for an equivalent crime.
It is ineffective – states that practice it have higher murder rates. It`s incredibly expensive – executing someone costs $2 million more than a life sentence. It is unacceptably error-prone – for every eighth execution, an innocent person is exonerated. Texas has led the nation in executions since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. To compound the inconsistency, death sentences may or may not be carried out at the federal level, depending on the opinion of the president or attorney general at that time. Under the Trump administration, the use of executions skyrocketed at the federal level, with 13 inmates executed in the final year of Mr. S. Trump – a staggering number considering there hadn`t been a single federal execution since 2003. According to the Death Penalty Information Centre, the three most important factors determining whether a person sentenced to death is sentenced to death in a murder case are not aggravating factors, but the place where the crime was committed (and therefore whether it falls within the jurisdiction of a prosecutor who aggressively applies the death penalty), the quality of the legal defense and the race of the victim (the murder of white victims is punished more severely).  In Furman v.
Georgia, the Supreme Court of the United States dealt with a group of consolidated cases. The main case concerned a person convicted under Georgia`s death penalty law, which included a “uniform procedure” in which the jury was asked to decide on guilt or innocence while determining whether the accused would face the death penalty or life imprisonment. The last execution before Furman was that of Luis Monge on June 2, 1967. In 1982, Texas conducted the first lethal injection execution in world history, and lethal injection later became the preferred method nationwide, moving the electric chair.  From 1976 to December 8, 2016, there were 1,533 executions, including 1,349 by lethal injection, 163 by electric shock, 11 by gas inhalation, 3 by hanging, and 3 by firing squad.  The South had the vast majority of these executions, with 1,249; There were 190 in the Midwest, 86 in the West, and only 4 in the Northeast. No state in the Northeast has carried out an execution since the now abolitionist Connecticut in 2005. The state of Texas alone carried out 571 executions, more than 1/3 of the total; The states of Texas, Virginia (now abolitionist) and Oklahoma together account for more than half of the total, with 802 executions.  17 executions were carried out by the federal government.  Executions increased until 1999; 98 prisoners were executed that year.
Since 1999, the number of executions has fallen sharply, and the 17 executions in 2020 were the lowest since 1991.  A 2016 Pew Research poll found that domestic support for the death penalty in the United States fell below 50% for the first time since the beginning of the post-Gregg era.  Gallup, Inc. has overseen support for the death penalty in the United States since 1937 by asking, “Are you in favor of the death penalty for a person convicted of murder?” Gallup polls documented a sharp increase in support for the death penalty between 1966 and 1994.  Perhaps due to the DNA relief of death row inmates reported in the national media in the late 1990s, support began to decline, from 80% in 1994 to 56% in 2019. In addition, assistance varies considerably depending on the characteristics of the target and the alternatives offered, with assistance to the murder of young people and the mentally ill being much lower (26 per cent and 19 per cent respectively in 2002).  Given that attitudes toward the death penalty often react to events, characteristics of the goal, and alternatives, many believe that conventional wisdom—that attitudes toward the death penalty are impervious to change—is wrong. Consequently, any analysis of attitudes towards the death penalty must take into account the responsiveness of these attitudes as well as their alleged resistance to change.  Instead of abolishing the death penalty, 37 states enacted new death penalty laws that sought to address White and Stewart`s concerns in the Furman case.
Some States responded by adopting mandatory death penalty laws that imposed the death penalty on anyone convicted of certain forms of murder. White had indicated that such a system would address his constitutional concerns in his Furman opinion. Other states have introduced “two-tier” trial and sentencing procedures, with various procedural restrictions on the jury`s ability to impose a death penalty in order to limit jury discretion.