Death Penalty Used Sparingly on the Federal Level
The Justice Department has not said whether it will seek the death penalty against Jared Loughner, the suspect in the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the deaths of a federal judge, a congressional aide and four other people. The federal government has filed one count of attempted assassination of a member of congress, two counts of killing a federal employee and two count of attempt killing of a federal employee. State charges are pending in Arizona.
Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, Juan Garza and Louis Jones have been the only people executed 0n a federal level since the federal death penalty was reinstated in 1988. Since 1927 the federal government has executed 37 offenders. Sixty federal offenders currently sit on death row in federal prisons.
A Gallup Poll conducted in November of last year found support for the death penalty at 64 percent. High profile cases that are particularly heinous often increase those numbers. People who otherwise are opposed to the death penalty change their mind when they know about a case. It doesn’t matter if that knowledge comes from the national media or a neighborhood coffee shop.
According to a Gallup Poll in 2001, 81 percent of Americans believed Timothy McVeigh should be executed, while 16 percent thought he should not. For people who said they generally oppose the death penalty, 58 percent, believed McVeigh should be executed, while 42 percent did not. At the time, Gallup figures showed that 67 percent of Americans favored the death penalty.
To read more: http://www.gallup.com/poll/1567/vast-majority-americans-think-mcveigh-should-executed.aspx