Death Penalty Debates

Is the capital punishment system working?


Public support for capital punishment in the United States remains strong on paper, but opponents say it is weakening in practice. The number of new death sentences fell in 2009 to its lowest point in four decades and seems likely to end even lower in 2010. The number of executions has also fallen, to at least half the number in the 1990s. Opponents of the death penalty say prosecutors may be seeking the death penalty less often because of the costs of a capital trial, sentencing and post-conviction proceedings. Jurors may also be worried about the costs of the system, the delay between sentence and execution and the risk of executing an innocent person. Supporters of capital punishment counter that the costs and delays result ...

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