Death Sentences in 2018
DPIC projects that 42 new death sentences will be imposed in the U.S. in 2018.* That is the third-fewest number of new death sentences imposed in any year in the modern history of U.S. capital punishment, which dates back to 1972 when the Supreme Court declared the country's death penalty laws unconstitutional in Furman v. Georgia.
Court rulings allowing impaired defendants to waive critical trial rights and death sentencing of individuals with obvious impairments raised concerns as to whether the sentences were reserved for “the worst of the worst” offenders or were being imposed upon the most vulnerable defendants in the most unreliable trial and sentencing proceedings.
Although capital sentencing decisions are supposed to reflect the conscience of the community, a disproportionate number of death sentences in 2018 were imposed without the unanimous agreement of death-penalty jurors that death was appropriate. One of every seven* death sentences was imposed by a judge without a unanimous jury vote, and often after defendants were deemed to have waived crucial trial rights.
* NOTE: An Ohio three-judge panel is scheduled to announce its sentencing decision in a pending case on 12/28/2018. For purposes of this analysis, we have projected that the court will impose a death sentence.
|Los Angeles, CA||2|
|U.S. Gov't (Texas)||2|
|St. Johns, FL||1|
|Tom Green, TX||1|
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