Thursday, March 1, 2018
Brandon L. Garrett and Ankur Desai (University of Virginia - School of Law and University of Virginia - School of Law, Alumnus or Degree Candidate Author) have posted The State of the Death Penalty Decline on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
The death penalty is in decline in America and most death penalty states do not regularly impose death sentences. In 2016 and 2017, states reached modern lows in imposed death sentences, with just thirty-one defendants sentenced to death in 2016 and thirty-nine in 2017, as compared with over three hundred per year in the 1990s. In 2016, only thirteen states imposed death sentences, and in 2017, fourteen did so, although thirty-one states retain the death penalty. What explains this remarkable and quite unexpected trend? In this Article, we present new analysis of state-level legislative changes that might have been expected to impact death sentences. First, life without parole (LWOP) statutes, now enacted in nearly every state, might have been expected to reduce death sentences because they give jurors a non-capital option at trial.