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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 …


Capital Jurors In An Era Of Death Penalty Decline, Brandon L. Garrett, Daniel Krauss, Nicholas Scurich Jan 2017

Capital Jurors In An Era Of Death Penalty Decline, Brandon L. Garrett, Daniel Krauss, Nicholas Scurich

Faculty Scholarship

The state of public opinion regarding the death penalty has not experienced such flux since the late 1960s. Death sentences and executions have reached their lowest annual numbers since the early 1970s and today, the public appears fairly evenly split in its views on the death penalty. In this Essay, we explore, first, whether these changes in public opinion mean that fewer people will be qualified to serve on death penalty trials as jurors, and second, whether potential jurors are affected by changes in the practice of the death penalty. We conducted surveys of persons reporting for jury duty at …


The Decline Of The Virginia (And American) Death Penalty, Brandon L. Garrett Jan 2017

The Decline Of The Virginia (And American) Death Penalty, Brandon L. Garrett

Faculty Scholarship

The American death penalty is disappearing. Death sentences and executions have reached the lowest levels seen in three decades. Even the states formerly most aggressive in pursuit of death sentences have seen death sentences steadily decline. Take Virginia, which has the highest rate of executions of any death penalty state, and which has executed the third highest number of prisoners since the 1970s. How times have changed. There has not been a new death sentence in Virginia since 2011. Only seven counties have imposed death sentences in the past decade in Virginia. There are now two or fewer trials a …