BREAKING NEWS: (4/17). New Hampshire Senate voted 12-12 on a bill to repeal the death penalty. The tie vote leaves the death penalty in place. (AP).
(4/16). Tennessee may become the only state in the country to require an inmate to be executed by the electric chair. The Senate and the House have passed bills allowing the state to use the electric chair if the Executive branch decides that drugs for lethal injection cannot be found. The House passed the bill on April 16 by a vote of 68-13.
NEW RESOURCE: New DPIC page providing each state's executions for each year since 1976.
NEWS: (4/10). New Hampshire's Senate Judiciary Committee voted 3-2 to recommend repeal of the state's death penalty. The measure has already passed the House and will now move to the entire Senate, with a vote likely on April 17.
(3/31). The Mississippi Supreme Court has reversed Michelle Byrom's death sentence and conviction and ordered a new trial. The Court called their action "extraordinary and extremely rare" but required by the facts of this case.
(3/11) Louisiana Judge Ramona Emanuel ordered Glenn Ford “unconditionally released from the custody of the Louisiana Department of Corrections” on March 11. (KTAL NBC News, Mar. 11, 2014). Prosecutors had earlier filed a motion essentially clearing Ford of the robbery and murder charges that sent him to death row 30 years ago. Read DPIC's Press Release. Read the Press Release from Ford's attorneys. Ford becomes the 144th former death row inmate to be exonerated since 1973. See DPIC's list of death row exonerations.
Governors Halting Executions
In the past few years, the governors of Washington, Colorado, and Oregon have put a halt to executions in their states because of problems in the death penalty system. Below are some of the reasons they gave for for their actions.
"Equal justice under the law is the state's primary responsibility. And in death penalty cases, I'm not convinced equal justice is being served. The use of the death penalty in this state is unequally applied, sometimes dependent on the budget of the county where the crime occurred."
"There are too many flaws in the system. And when the ultimate decision is death there is too much at stake to accept an imperfect system. "
"When the majority of death penalty sentences lead to reversal, the entire system itself must be called into question."
Governor John Hickenlooper, Colorado, May 22, 2013
"If the State of Colorado is going to undertake the responsibility of executing a human being, the system must operate flawlessly. Colorado's system for capital punishment is not flawless."
"As one former Colorado judge said to us, '[The death penalty] is the result of happenstance, the district attorney's choice, the jurisdiction in which the case is filed, perhaps the race of economic circumstance of the defendant.'"
"The death penalty is not making our world a safer or better place."
Governor John Kitzhaber, Oregon, November 22, 2011
"I do not believe that those executions made us safer; and certainly they did not make us nobler as a society."
"The death penalty as practiced in Oregon is neither fair nor just; and it is not swift or certain. It is not applied equally to all."
"I am convinced we can find a better solution that keeps society safe, supports the victims of crime and their families and reflects Oregon values."