A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

Death sentences hit 29-year low

[JURIST] The number of death sentences handed down in 2004 was the lowest since 1976, according to new statistics released by the NAACP Legal Defense Fund [advocacy website]. A total of 125 people were sentenced to death by US courts in 2004, down from 144 in 2003, and 300 in 1998. Texas mandated the death penalty in the most cases in 2004 - 23 - with California (11), Florida and Alabama in train (8 each). Observers variously attribute the decline in nationwide death sentences to increasing recognition of the fallacy of the conviction process in light of DNA evidence, an overall decline in the national murder rate, and the Supreme Court's reclassification of which killers are in fact eligible for death. AP has more. There are currently 3455 people on death row in the United States [NAACP statistics, PDF] of whom 41.9% of which are black.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.