Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Death Penalty: Executions and Verdicts Decline in 2010

There was a decline nationwide in the number of executions and the number of death sentences handed down by juries. Forty-six inmates were executed nationwide in 2010, according, down from 52 in 2009, but roughly in the same range as the past five years. Texas executed 29% fewer inmates in 2010 than in 2009. New death sentences nationwide totaled 114 in 2010, about half as many as were meted out 10 years ago. In death penalty states like Virginia, Georgia, Missouri and Indiana, no new death sentences were imposed in 2010.

What does the decline in both categories mean?

"Whether it's concerns about the high costs of the death penalty at a time when budgets are being slashed, the risks of executing the innocent, unfairness, or other reasons, the nation continued to move away from the death penalty in 2010," Richard Dieter of the Death Penalty Information Center's, an anti-death penalty organization, told

Kent Scheidegger of the Sacramento, Calif.-based Criminal Justice Legal Foundation told, "The decline in death sentences is the result of two factors: decline in the number of murders, and greater selectivity in seeking and imposing the death penalty."

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