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POLITICS: Death Sentences at 30-Year Low

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posted on Nov, 15 2004 @ 02:27 AM
The number of people that have received a sentence of death has hit a 30 year low in 2003. Of the 25 states with the death penalty, 144 received the sentence last year. Death penalty opponents are quick to point out that the public may have become wary of handing out the sentence. Another reason may be that a Supreme Court ruling requires that juries be told that life without parole is an alternative. All but three states now offer that sentence.
WASHINGTON — The number of people sentenced to death reached a 30-year low in 2003, when the death row population fell for the third year in a row, the government reported Sunday.

Last year, 144 inmates in 25 states were given the death penalty, 24 fewer than in 2002 and less than half the average of 297 between 1994 and 2000, according to the Justice Department.

Death penalty opponents say the report shows how wary the public is of executions, heightened by concerns about whether the punishment is administered fairly and publicity about those wrongly convicted. Illinois emptied its death row in 2003 after several inmates were found to be innocent.

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The death penalty remains an effective punishment. While we have debated the merits and the ethics of the penalty here on ATS, I remain convinced that it should continued to be administered. It is only given out in extreme cases and with the all the appeals that they receive, they should be able to effectively determine guilt. I do however support mandatory DNA testing if relevant as part of any appeals process.


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