Justice Department: Death sentences reach 30-year low

Justice Department: Death sentences reach 30-year low

[JURIST] The US Justice Department is reporting that the number of people sentenced to death in the United States reached a 30-year low in 2003. Last year, 144 inmates in 25 states were given the death penalty, which is not only 24 fewer than in 2002 but less than half the average of 297 between 1994 and 2000. Death penalty opponents feel the report shows the public's wariness of executions in light of how the punishment is administered how it is sometimes employed against wrongfully convicted people. Supporters do not think the numbers reflect any real change in Americans' general attitude toward the death penalty. Read the DOJ press release announcing the new statistics here. Read the full DOJ report here [PDF]. AP has more.