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Out of step with modern thinking

Juries’ verdicts and survey results show that citizens of Kentucky oppose the death penalty, as do people worldwide

  • “A majority of Kentuckians support a suspension of executions to allow time for problems within the system to be remedied. The November 30-December 4 survey of 405 most likely voters statewide found 62 percent support a temporary halt to executions. The support was consistent across the state: a majority of men, women, urban, suburban, and rural, Republican, Democratic, and Independent voters all favored a temporary halt to executions.” [American Bar Association]
  • In a 2006 poll conducted by the University of Kentucky Survey Center, 67 percent of Kentuckians questioned preferred a long prison sentence to execution for those convicted of aggravated murder. [Death Penalty Information Center]
  • “The report noted that new death sentences dropped to 78 in 2011, marking the first time since capital punishment was reinstated in 1976 that the country has produced less than 100 death sentences in a year.  It represents a 75% decline since 1996, when there were 315 new death sentences. California which has the country’s largest death row, saw its death sentences drop by more than half this year – 10 compared with 29 in 2010. Only 13 states carried out executions in 2011, 74% of which were in the South.  Only 8 states carried out more than one execution. Texas led the country with 13 executions, but that number represents a 46% decrease from 2009, when there were 24 executions.” [Death Penalty Information Center]
  • “The death penalty is withering, even in Texas. In the nineteen-nineties, juries in the United States handed down about three hundred death sentences per year; in 2010 there were only a hundred and fourteen. There were ninety-eight executions in 1999 and only forty-six last year. Earlier this year, Illinois became the sixteenth state to ban executions. The change has been especially striking in Houston, which has long reigned as the death-penalty capital of the nation. If Harris County, which includes Houston and its nearby suburbs, were a state, it would trail only the rest of Texas for the number of people executed. But last year prosecutors in Harris County sent only two people to death row.” [The New Yorker]
  • “‘My analysis of regional and national jurisprudence identifies a momentum towards redefining the legality of capital punishment,’ said U.N. special rapporteur on torture Juan Mendez. ‘States need to re-examine their procedures under international law because the ability of states to impose and carry out the death penalty is diminishing as these practices are increasingly viewed to constitute torture.'” [Reuters]
  • “A national poll of 1,500 registered voters conducted by Lake Research Partners shows growing support for alternatives to the death penalty compared with previous polls. A clear majority of voters (61%) would choose a punishment other than the death penalty for murder, including life with no possibility of parole and with restitution to the victim’s family (39%), life with no possibility of parole (13%), or life with the possibility of parole (9%). In states with the death penalty, a plurality of voters said it would make no difference in their vote if a representative supported repeal of the death penalty; and a majority (62%) said either it would make no difference (38%) or they would be more likely to vote for such a representative (24%).” [Death Penalty Information Center]
  • Kentucky juries went more than four years in between rendering a death penalty verdict. [Kentucky Department of Corrections]
  • In 2007, 108 cases were potentially eligible for the death penalty. No death sentences were returned. [Official assessment made by the Legislative Research Commission for the Kentucky General Assembly]
  • “The majority of countries now refrain from using the death penalty. Furthermore, in 2008 Amnesty International recorded only 25 out of 59 countries that retain the death penalty actually carried out executions. The practice of states indicates that there is increasing consolidation of majority international consensus that the death penalty cannot be reconciled with respect for human rights.” [Amnesty International]
  • “Death sentences handed down by judges and juries in 2009 continued a trend of decline for seven years in a row, with 106 projected for the year. That level is down two-thirds from a peak of 328 in 1994.” [The New York Times]

For more evidence that Kentucky’s death penalty is out of step with modern thinking, read our blog.

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