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State by State Lethal Injection

April 9, 2014 Comments off

State by State Lethal Injection
Source: Death Penalty Information Center

Until 2010, most states used a 3-drug combination for lethal injections: an anesthetic (either pentobarbital or, formerly, sodium thiopental), pancuronium bromide (a paralytic agent, also called Pavulon), and potassium chloride (stops the heart and causes death). Due to drug shortages, states have adopted new lethal injection methods, including:

ONE DRUG: Eight states have used a single-drug method for executions–a lethal dose of an anesthetic (Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Missouri, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas, and Washington). Five other states have announced use of one-drug lethal injection protocols, but have not carried out such an execution (Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Tennessee).

PENTOBARBITAL: Fourteen states have used pentobarbital in executions: Alabama, Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, and Virginia. Five additional states plan to use pentobarbital: Kentucky, Louisiana, Montana, North Carolina, and Tennessee. Colorado includes pentobarbital as a backup drug in its lethal injection procedure.

PROPOFOL: One state had planned to use propofol (Diprivan), in a single-drug protocol, but has since revised its lethal injection procedure: Missouri

MIDAZOLAM: One state has used midazolam as the first drug in a three-drug protocol: Florida. One state has used midazolam in a two-drug protocol: Ohio. Four states have proposed using midazolam in a two-drug protocol: Louisiana, Kentucky, Arizona, and Oklahoma. Two states have proposed using midazolam in a three-drug protocol: Virginia and Oklahoma. Some states have proposed multiple protocols.

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Only 2% of Counties Responsible for Majority of U.S. Death Penalty

October 4, 2013 Comments off

Only 2% of Counties Responsible for Majority of U.S. Death Penalty
Source: Death Penalty Information Center

On October 2 the Death Penalty Information Center released a new report, The 2% Death Penalty: How a Minority of Counties Produce Most Death Cases at Enormous Costs to All. The report shows that, contrary to the assumption that the death penalty is widely used in the U.S., only a few jurisdictions employ capital punishment extensively. Only 2% of the counties in the U.S. have been responsible for the majority of cases leading to executions since 1976. Likewise, only 2% of the counties are responsible for the majority of today’s death row population and recent death sentences. The report also noted that aggressive use of the death penalty in relatively few counties produces enormous costs that are shifted to the entire state. “This peculiar exercise of discretion results in enormous expenses being passed on to taxpayers across the state. Moreover, the correlation between the high use of the death penalty and a high rate of error means that courts in these states will be occupied for years with costly appeals and retrials. Some states have recently chosen to opt out of this process, at great savings to their taxpayers.”

The Death Penalty in 2011: Year End Report

December 16, 2011 Comments off

The Death Penalty in 2011: Year End Report (PDF)
Source: Death Penalty Information Center

On December 15, the Death Penalty Information Center released its latest report, “The Death Penalty in 2011: Year End Report,” on statistics and trends in capital punishment in the past year. The report noted that new death sentences dropped to 78 in 2011, marking the first time since capital punishment was reinstated in 1976 that the country has produced less than 100 death sentences in a year. It represents a 75% decline since 1996, when there were 315 new death sentences. California, which has the country’s largest death row, saw its death sentences drop by more than half this year – 10 compared with 29 in 2010. Only 13 states carried out executions in 2011, 74% of which were in the South. Only 8 states carried out more than one execution. Texas led the country with 13 executions, but that number represents a 46% decrease from 2009, when there were 24 executions. “This year, the use of the death penalty continued to decline by almost every measure,” said Richard Dieter, DPIC’s Executive Director and the report’s author. “Executions, death sentences, public support, the number of states with the death penalty all dropped from previous years. Whether it’s concerns about unfairness, executing the innocent, the high costs of the death penalty, or the general feeling that the government just can’t get it right, Americans moved further away from capital punishment in 2011.”

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