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DPIC RESOURCES: New State Pages Now Available

DPIC is pleased to announce the completion of our State Information Pages for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  These state profiles provide historical and current information on the death penalty for each state, including famous cases, past legislative actions, and links to key organizations and state officials.  For frequently updated information, such as execution totals, the size of death row, or the number of exonerations, see our State-by-State Database.  Readers are encouraged to send additional information, pictures, and links to organizations in their state.  You can reach the State Information Pages through the "State by State" button at the top of every page on our website or under the "Resources" tab in our main menu.


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NEW RESOURCES: States Ranked by Executions Per Death Sentence

DPIC has updated its Executions Per Death Death Sentence page to reflect data through 2010.  This page lists states in order of the percentage of death sentences resulting in an execution since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976.  If every death sentence resulted in an execution, the state would be at 100%, or a rate of 1.00.  Using this ratio of executions per death sentence, the first five states are Virginia (.725), Texas (.498), Utah (.368), Missouri (.347), and Delaware (.311).  Of those states that have carried out at least one execution, the five states with the lowest rate of execution are Pennsylvania (.008), California (.015), Idaho (.025), Oregon (.028), and Tennessee (.035).  Four states with the death penalty during this time period had no executions: Kansas, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and New York.  The latter two have abandoned the death penalty.  Nationally, about 15% of death sentences have resulted in an execution (a rate of .150).  Another measure of state execution rates is executions per capita (population).  Under this standard, Oklahoma and Texas are the leading states.


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In New Mexico, Judge and Prosecutor Agree: No Funds Means No Death Penalty

In a potentially far reaching ruling, a trial judge in New Mexico has barred the state from seeking the death penalty because the legislature has failed to provide adequate funding for defense representation. The state's Attorney General, Gary King, agreed that the capital prosecution cannot go forward. After finding that funding for the defense was insufficient and raised constitutional problems, King wrote, "The state now confesses the motion to dismiss filed herein and cannot in good faith under these circumstances oppose the dismissal of the death penalty in these cases." State District Judge Neil Candelaria took the death penalty off the table for Reis Lopez and Robert Young, two inmates accused of killing a prison guard, because no money was appropriated for death penalty indigent defense during New Mexico’s 2008 Legislative Session, despite a unanimous warning from the state Supreme Court. The legislative session ended in February.


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New Mexico Trial Judge Finds State Death Penalty Unconstitutional

Ruling in a pre-trial matter in New Mexico, Judge Timothy Garcia of Santa Fe County's First Judicial District Court held the state's death penalty law to be unconstitutional based on a study by the Capital Jury Project.  The Project's research in 14 states had found that jurors often do not follow the law in making their sentencing decision.  In particular, the judge found that the jurors' propensity toward making their sentencing decision during the guilt-innocence phase of the trial was "an arbitrary and capricious violation of the United States Constitution and the New Mexico Constitution."

The judge said that he would allow the death penalty trial to go ahead provided separate juries were selected for the guilt-innocence phase and for the sentencing phase, even though that change was not provided for under New Mexico law.  The state elected to forgo seeking the death penalty entirely, thereby putting off a legal confrontation on this issue.


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Jurisdictions with no recent executions

Although the United States is considered a death penalty country, executions are rare or non-existent in most of the nation: the majority of states—31 out of 50—have either abolished the death penalty or have not carried out an execution in at least 10 years. An additional 6 states have not had an execution in at least 5 years, for a total of 37 states with no executions in that time. Three additional jurisdictions (the District of Columbia, the Federal Government, and the Military) have not had an execution in at least 10 years.

The tables below list the jurisdictions with no executions in many years (updated November 21, 2018):

31 states, plus 3 jurisdictions (District of Columbia, Federal Government, and Military), with no death penalty or no executions in at least 10 years

Jurisdictions with no death penalty Last Execution
1. Alaska Before 1976
2. Connecticut (1) May 13, 2005
3. Delaware (16) April 20, 2012
4. Hawaii Before 1976
5. Illinois (12) March 17, 1999
6. Iowa Before 1976
7. Maine Before 1976
8. Maryland (5) December 5, 2005
9. Massachusetts Before 1976
10. Michigan Before 1976
11. Minnesota Before 1976
12. New Jersey Before 1976
13. New Mexico (1) November 6, 2001
14. New York Before 1976
15. North Dakota Before 1976
16. Rhode Island Before 1976
17. Vermont Before 1976
18. Washington (5) Sept. 10, 2010
19. West Virginia Before 1976
20. Wisconsin Before 1976
21. District of Columbia Before 1976
Jurisdictions with the death penalty Last Execution
22. California (13) January 17, 2006
23. Colorado (1) October 13, 1997
24. Kansas (0) Before 1976
25. Kentucky (3) November 21, 2008
26. Montana (3) August 11, 2006
27. Nevada (12) April 26, 2006
28. New Hampshire (0) Before 1976
29. North Carolina (43) August 18, 2006
30. Oregon (2) May 16, 1997
31. Pennsylvania (3) July 6, 1999
32. Wyoming (1) January 22, 1992
33. U.S. Federal Government (3) March 18, 2003
34. U.S. Military (0) Before 1976

37 states, plus 3 jurisdictions, with no death penalty or no executions in at least 5 years

Jurisdictions with no death penalty Last Execution
1. Alaska Before 1976
2. Connecticut (1) May 13, 2005
3. Delaware (16) April 20, 2012
4. Hawaii Before 1976
5. Illinois (12) March 17, 1999
6. Iowa Before 1976
7. Maine Before 1976
8. Maryland (5) December 5, 2005
9. Massachusetts Before 1976
10. Michigan Before 1976
11. Minnesota Before 1976
12. New Jersey Before 1976
13. New Mexico (1) November 6, 2001
14. New York Before 1976
15. North Dakota Before 1976
16. Rhode Island Before 1976
17. Vermont Before 1976
18. Washington (5) Sept. 10, 2010
19. West Virginia Before 1976
20. Wisconsin Before 1976
21. District of Columbia Before 1976
Jurisdictions with the death penalty Last Execution
22. California (13) January 17, 2006
23. Colorado (1) October 13, 1997
24. Idaho (3) June 12, 2012
25. Indiana (20) December 11, 2009
26. Kansas (0) Before 1976
27. Kentucky (3) November 21, 2008
28. Louisiana (28) Jan. 7, 2010
29. Montana (3) August 11, 2006
30. Mississippi (21) June 20, 2012
31. Nevada (12) April 26, 2006
32. New Hampshire (0) Before 1976
33. North Carolina (43) August 18, 2006
34. Oregon (2) May 16, 1997
35. Pennsylvania (3) July 6, 1999
36. South Carolina (43) May 6, 2011
37. Utah (7) June 18, 2010
38. Wyoming (1) January 22, 1992
39. U.S. Federal Government (3) March 18, 2003
40. U.S. Military (0) Before 1976

Number in parentheses indicates total executions since 1976.
 

 

(DPIC, map as of October 29, 2018).  See DPIC's 2016 Year End Report.  See also Executions and Executions by County.


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