Death Penalty Use in Louisiana Has Sharply Declined

Louisiana has seen a steep decline in executions compared to previous decades, with only three executions in the last ten years. This is in stark contrast to the eight men who were electrocuted within the span of 11 weeks in 1987, and it follows a nationwide trend of declining executions and imposition of death sentences.

The state’s most recent execution was on January 7, the first since since 2002. The execution occurred only because the defendant, Gerard Bordelon, waived appeals that may have taken many more years to complete.

Although there are concerns in the state over the time between sentencing and execution, many cases are reversed because they were not conducted properly in the first place. About half of the state’s cases considered by federal judges since 2000 have been sent back to the state court for new trials. First Assistant District Attorney Cynthia Killingsworth of Calcasieu Parish said that her office has sought fewer capital charges over years, partially because of the burden it can put on victims’ families when a case is reversed and needs to be retried.

Death sentences in Louisana have also declined since 2000.

Sources

L. Maggi, Louisiana has seen dra­mat­ic decline in exe­cu­tions, in line with nation­al trend,” Times-Picayune, January 102010

See also Sentencing and Victims.