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Common Ground…
Over The Death Penalty?

 

 

As Texas readies to execute its second inmate in 2019, more states move to abolish the death penalty (with bipartisan support).

 

 

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WHY NOW?

CHANGING OPINION

  • Money: Eliminating death penalty limits state’s costly legal bills & liability.
  • Problems: Execution drug shortages & botched executions have increased significantly.
  • Morals: Both democrats & republicans (and juries). share a drop in death penalty support
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“If you’re going to be pro-life, it means all lives.”

Chad McCoy, Republican state representative in Kentucky, who changed his mind about the death penalty. Kentucky is one of five GOP-controlled state legislatures (Kansas, Missouri, Montana & Wyoming) sponsoring anti-death penalty bills. The majority of Republicans have supported the death penalty in the past compared to democrats which is why it's notable these bills are in "red" states.
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“I look at this as justice. It has been on the books here since statehood.”

Bill Pownall, retired Sheriff & Republican state representative in Wyoming where a challenge to the death penalty was debated, but recently defeated.
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Does It Make Us Safer?

Does the death penalty deter crime? Is it a *fitting* punishment?

Hotly Debated

Something To Consider:

“One cannot study the impact of executions when they are hardly ever imposed…”

University of Pennsylvania

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BY THE NUMBERS

  • 1,492: Executions since 1976 (roughly 35 a year). In 1976 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the death penalty doesn’t violate the 8th Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment)
  • 164: Death row exonerations since 1973 (all at the state level)
  • 30: States w/o death penalty
  • 20+DC: States w/ death penalty
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What Decline Looks Like:

  • Federal gov’t hasn’t executed anyone since 2003; U.S military hasn’t done so since 1961.
  • 2018: 8 death penalty states carried out 25 executions. In contrast, 11 other death penalty states haven’t done so in 10+ yrs.
  • From 2000 to 2017, the number of death row inmates declined 24%.
  • Context: 42 death sentences in 2018 vs. nearly 300 in 1998.
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More than half of last year's executions (13 of 25) took place in Texas - a state that typically exercised the death penalty more than any other state. In contrast, New Hampshire hasn't executed anyone since 1939 and is poised to repeal its death penalty this year.

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