Death Sentencing Rate By State, 1977-1999

DEATH SENTENCING RATE BY STATE (per murder)
The Death Sentencing Rate is the ratio of death sentences in a state between 1977 and 1999, and the number of murders in that state during approximately the same period.

State
Death
Sentence
Rate
Number of
Death Sentences,
1977-99
Murders With
Known Offenders,
1976-98
Nevada
0.060
124
2,072
Oklahoma
0.051
257
5,020
Delaware
0.048
30
626
Idaho
0.047
36
773
Arizona
0.043
213
5,007
Alabama
0.038
311
8,190
Mississippi
0.035
144
4,122
Florida
0.034
735
21,837
Ohio
0.028
285
10,142
North Carolina
0.026
327
12,463
Pennsylvania
0.024
316
13,095
Missouri
0.024
158
6,679
Nebraska
0.023
19
831
Georgia
0.022
243
10,912
Oregon
0.022
46
2,132
National Average
0.022
Texas
0.020
776
37,879
Tennessee
0.020
156
7,690
Arkansas
0.020
90
4,523
Illinois
0.019
274
14,710
Utah
0.018
19
1,080
South Carolina
0.016
138
8,451
Indiana
0.016
84
5,289
Louisiana
0.016
158
10,146
Kentucky
0.014
68
4,863
California
0.013
652
49,943
Virginia
0.013
119
9,235
New Jersey
0.010
48
4,710
Washington
0.009
34
3,628
New Mexico
0.008
12
1,480
Maryland
0.007
47
6,606
Colorado
0.004
13
3,256


NOTE: Data are for the 31 states with more than 10 death row enrollees from 1977 through 1999. Death row data are based on the Bureau of Justice Statistics capital punishment data. Murder data are based on the FBI's Supplemental Homicide Reports for 1976–1998, except for a later starting year for three states, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Oregon, in which post-Furman death penalties became effective after 1977. The death sentence rate is the number of death sentences divided by the number of murders with a known offender.

SOURCE: John Blume, Theodore Eisenberg, and Martin T. Wells, "Explaining Death Row's Population and Racial Composition," Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, Volume 1, Issue 1, 165-207, March 2004


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