Saturday, December 13, 2008

Number of death sentences declines across the nation

Florida, the rest of South and Texas account for most executions
December 11, 2008
WASHINGTON - New death sentences in the United States were at or near a three-decade low this year and the number of people executed will be the lowest since 1994, according to a new report.

The nonprofit Death Penalty Information Center says the number of executions has dropped 12 percent since 2007 and 30 percent since 2006.

The center also estimates the number of death sentences imposed this year has decreased more than 60 percent from 1998.

The report from the center, which opposes the death penalty, indicates that executions have essentially become a regional phenomenon. All but four of this year's 37 executions occurred in the South and Texas. Ohio and Oklahoma are the exceptions. Texas executed 18 inmates; Virginia, four; Georgia and South Carolina, three each; Florida, Oklahoma, Mississippi and Ohio, two each; and Kentucky, one.

All of the executions in 2008 occurred after April 16, when a U.S. Supreme Court decision on the use of lethal injections ended a de facto moratorium for almost seven months.

The Associated Press

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