The Death Penalty Information Center has issued it annual report, The Death Penalty in 2022: Year End Report. Fewer death sentences have been imposed in the United States in the past five years than in any preceding five-year span since capital punishment resumed in this country in 1972. Illustrating the durability of capital punishment’s decline, 2022 was the eighth consecutive year in which fewer than 50 new death sentences were imposed in the United States and fewer than 30 executions were carried out, far off the 1990s’ peaks of 315 death sentences and 98 executions.
The death penalty continued to be geographically isolated with only five states — Alabama, Arizona, Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas — carrying out executions (or six states, if Mississippi executes Mr. Loden on Wednesday). Oklahoma (5) and Texas (5), the two most prolific states in carrying out executions over the past fifty years, performed more executions than any other states, together accounting for more than half of the year’s executions. Despite the efforts of these outlier states, most scheduled executions did not go forward: just 35% of the 51 death warrants issued for 2022 were actually carried out.
Execution failures were numerous and dramatic. On July 28, 2022, executioners in Alabama took three hours to set an IV line before putting Joe Nathan James to death, the longest botched lethal injection execution in U.S. history. The state then called off the next two executions in progress when corrections personnel were unable after repeated attempts to establish execution IV lines. Executions were put on hold in Alabama, Tennessee, Ohio, and South Carolina when the states were unable to follow execution protocols. Idaho scheduled an execution without having the drugs on hand to carry it out. The execution did not go forward. Oklahoma set an execution date for a prisoner who was incarcerated in federal prison out of state, without making arrangements for his custody to be transferred. That execution also did not occur.
Twelve states imposed new death sentences this year. California imposed four and Alabama and Florida each imposed three. Only one county — San Bernardino County, California — imposed more than one death sentence.
To read the Report CLICK HERE
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