Monday, November 15, 2004
The number of prisoners in the United States on death row dropped for the third consecutive year in 2003, resulting in the lowest total number of death row inmates in 30 years, according to a report by the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics.
Only 144 defendants sentenced in 2003 were sentenced to death, well below the average of 297 between 1994 and 2000.
Robin M. Maher,
director of the American Bar Association’s Death Penalty Representation
Project, told the Washington Post that, “The declining figures probably indicate a loss of
confidence in the fairness and reliability of the death penalty.” Maher added that “juries overall . . . seem more
cautious about imposing a death sentence,” perhaps because of the recent DNA exonerations that have exposed flaws in the criminal justice system.
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