Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Red State/Blue State: Capital Punishment

As Phydeaux noted in the comments of this post, Texas is responsible for 60% of executions in the U.S.

Thankfully, the New York Times seized an opportunity to report on this with a front page article in today's edition.
But enthusiasm for executions outside of Texas has dropped sharply. Of the 42 executions in the last year, 26 were in Texas. The remaining 16 were spread across nine other states, none of which executed more than three people. Many legal experts say the trend will probably continue.

Indeed, said David R. Dow, a law professor at the University of Houston who has represented death-row inmates, the day is not far off when essentially all executions in the United States will take place in Texas.

“The reason that Texas will end up monopolizing executions,” he said, “is because every other state will eliminate it de jure, as New Jersey did, or de facto, as other states have.”

And when virtually all executions in the U.S. are taking place in one state, this has got to raise a few eyebrows, particularly in the Supreme Court.

Pardon the poor quality of this graphic. Click here for a clearer version.

The countries in blue have abolished the death penalty entirely, while the countries shaded in brick red maintain the death penalty for certain crimes. And it's quite clear the United States is not among the progressive leaders of the world on this issue. In fact, we are bedded down with some of the most horrific purveyers of death on the planet.

From Wiki:
Executions are known to have been carried out in the following 25 countries in 2006:

Bahrain, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Jordan, North Korea, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mongolia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Uganda, the United States of America, Vietnam, Yemen.

And as mentioned in the Wiki entry, 91% of worldwide executions were carried out in only six of these countries. The U.S. was 6th in the list contributing to that 91% total -- thanks in very large part to Texas.

Crossposted at Big Brass Blog

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