Death penalty hits new low in 2011

by Mary Mahling and Maggie Clark, Stateline

2011 has been a notable year for the death penalty: Fewer people have been sentenced to die than in any year since capital punishment was reinstated in 1976, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

Last month, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber placed a moratorium on executions in his state. He also stayed the pending execution of Gary Haugen, who would have been the first Oregonian put to death for a crime in 14 years. Next door, Idaho moved in the opposite direction, executing its first prisoner in 17 years. Many states that have the death penalty use it infrequently, if ever. Richard Dieter, head of the Death Penalty Information Center, says these states keep the ultimate punishment around, rather than abolishing it outright, for a reason: They can imagine a crime horrible enough that they’d want the sentence available. is a nonpartisan, nonprofit news service of the Pew Center on the States that reports and analyzes trends in state policy.

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Posted by at 06:15 | Posted in Death Penalty | 11 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Rupert in Springfield

    Kitzhaber did a really dopey thing letting the state waste money on the Haugen case before popping up with his new found opposition to the death penalty.

    It’s understandable Kitzhaber wanted to win the election, he and his gf wanted another dip at the trough. Therefore Kitzhaber didn’t want to reveal his opposition to the death penalty. That’s fine. However having won election, he didn’t have to waste peoples money letting this case drag on. A simple announcement at the beginning of his term would have saved a lot of time money and effort.

    The sad thing is that its about what you’d expect from Kitzhaber.

  • Crazydog

    This brave man in the tight jeans will save us all.

    • guest

      Jeans so tight Cylvia’s squeeze keys in Soprano like a New Jersey orchestrator.   

  • Bob Clark

    I think some multiple murders are so heinous those convicted in such cases should be put to death in a most expedious manner.  The reason costs are so high for executing a death sentence is government has made it so with various levels of court appeals, delays, etc.

    But it’s hard to get real passionate about this issue because death sentences are rather rare and executions even more so.

    I don’t support Governor Kitzhaber or Representative Sheehan’s postions regarding the death penalty.  Like I said some crimes involving multiple murders are just too heinous not to receive wide, vehement public retribution employing ultimate price.

  • Tom Joad

    Bruce McCain had a great analysis of this issue on a couple of blog posts on Victoria Taft’s blog:

    Hey, didn’t Bruce used to be a contributor here? What happened with him? He was always one of the best reads on this sight.

  • Ballistic45

    Ah, America, Garage full of junk while the new car sets in the driveway, Liberal Protestors fight against killing guilty killers and for ripping apart the unborn and partially born innocent babies..  They are afraid of a possible innocent convected murderer being killed while condoning the killing of the most innocent of all, the unborn without any representation or appeal…  America, what have we become?

  • Binary

    how dare you criticize our governor.

    • guest

      Gary Haugen did in the fishwrapper (Dec 21) or don’t you lend a whit, shillgrim?  D’oh!

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