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Criminal Law

Duke Law

2017

Empirical

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The American Death Penalty Decline, Brandon L. Garrett, Alexander Jakubow, Ankur Desai Jan 2017

The American Death Penalty Decline, Brandon L. Garrett, Alexander Jakubow, Ankur Desai

Faculty Scholarship

American death sentences have both declined and become concentrated in a small group of counties. In his dissenting opinion in Glossip v. Gross in 2014, Justice Stephen Breyer highlighted how from 2004 to 2006, "just 29 counties (fewer than 1% of counties in the country) accounted for approximately half of all death sentences imposed nationwide." That decline has become more dramatic. In 2015, fifty-one defendants were sentenced to death in thirty-eight counties. In 2016, thirty-one defendants were sentenced to death in twenty-eight counties. In the mid-1990s, by way of contrast, over 300 people were sentenced to death in as many …