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Is the Death Penalty Dying?

May 29, 2015  | 

On May 27, the conservative Nebraska state legislature abolished the death penalty in that state despite a veto attempt by Governor Pete Ricketts. A parallel bill passed the Delaware state senate in March and picked up the endorsement of Governor Jack Markell, formerly a supporter of the ultimate sanction. Only a single vote in a House committee kept the bill bottled up, and supporters vowed to keep pressing the issue.

In February, Markell’s neighboring governor, Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania, declared an open-ended moratorium on executions. That officially idles the fifth largest death row in America. The largest, in California, is also at a standstill while a federal appeals court weighs the question of whether long delays and infrequent executions render the penalty unconstitutional.

Even in Texas, which leads the nation in executions since 1976 (when the U.S. Supreme Court approved the practice after a brief moratorium), the wheels are coming off the bandwagon. From a peak of 40 executions in 2000, the Lone Star State put 10 prisoners to death last year and seven so far in 2015.

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Comments (5)

Displaying 1 - 5 of 5

kevCopAz @ 5/30/2015 11:14 AM

ironic is it not that one of the main reasons fold that are anti-death penalty use the "cosy" of implementing the penalty as a reason to end it? If not for them and their endless appeal processes and liberal rules and procedures that TAKEW 10 & 20 years to complete, we could end the life of these evil murderers in one year, fait trial, reasonable appeals and then end it. Yet all the LIBS make this impossible and then complain about the time and the cost! Assinine.

S.S. @ 6/1/2015 8:13 AM

Not in TX!!

S.S. @ 6/1/2015 8:23 AM

Im glad I live in Texas, but Tx. is starting to feel all the bullshit that's going on.

Jon Retired LEO @ 6/1/2015 6:58 PM

Nebraska has a state senator by the name of Ernest Chambers. He is from Omaha, ironically where the female police officer was killed a week ago while serving a felony fugitive warrant. His main objective in getting elected to the legislature was abolishing the death penalty. I can remember when Charles Starkweather killed 11 people across Nebraska in 1957 and it took them 6 months to execute him. Good Justice that year!

Long time cop @ 6/6/2015 7:21 PM

Pity the poor corrections officer who pisses off an inmate who's serving life without parole in a state without the death penalty. What's the deterrent for that inmate not to kill that officer (or another inmate)? Also, some crimes just absolutely deserve capital punishment (if the killer in Newtown had not killed himself after killing all those children and teachers, can you imagine him not getting the death penalty??

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