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BREAKING NEWS: Joseph Franklin was executed in Missouri on November 20 using pentobarbital from a compounding pharmacy. Earlier, a federal District Court judge had stayed the execution because of the state's secretive policy on where they had obtained the execution drug. The stay was lifted by the U.S. Court of Appeals. Litigation regarding the lethal injection policy continues.
(Oct. 30). The Gallup poll recorded the lowest level of support for the death penalty in 40 years, based on its recent survey. Sixty percent (60%) of Americans say they support the death penalty, a sharp decline from the 80% support registered in 1994. When Gallup has asked respondents to choose between the death penalty and life without parole as a sentence for murder, less than 50% of Americans expressed support for the death penalty. (Gallup, Oct. 29, 2013).
(Oct. 28). Ohio announced today it will use a previously untried method of execution for its next lethal injection on Nov. 14. Because the state was unable to obtain a sufficient quantity of pentobarbital, Ohio will use midazolam and hydromorphone, injected intravenously, for the execution of Ronald Phillips. UPDATE: Phillips received a stay to consider allowing him to donate non-vital organs to relatives. On Oct. 15, Florida became the first state to use midazolam in an execution, though it was followed by different drugs than those Ohio plans to use . The inmate executed in Florida did not challenge the drugs used. (Associated Press).
On October 2, 2013, the Death Penalty Information Center released a new report, The 2% Death Penalty: How a Minority of Counties Produce Most Death Cases at Enormous Costs to All. The report shows that, contrary to the assumption that the death penalty is widely used in the U.S., only a few jurisdictions employ capital punishment extensively. Only 2% of the counties in the U.S. have been responsible for the majority of cases leading to executions since 1976. Likewise, only 2% of the counties are responsible for the majority of today’s death row population and recent death sentences.
Watch a video summary of the report.
The report also noted that aggressive use of the death penalty in relatively few counties produces enormous costs that are shifted to the entire state. “This peculiar exercise of discretion results in enormous expenses being passed on to taxpayers across the state. Moreover, the correlation between the high use of the death penalty and a high rate of error means that courts in these states will be occupied for years with costly appeals and retrials. Some states have recently chosen to opt out of this process, at great savings to their taxpayers.”
- Read the Executive Summary.
- Read the Press Release.
- Read the Full Report.
- Read a summary of media coverage.