The number of state-sponsored executions jumped 41 percent in 2009 even as the number of death penalty court sentences dropped, according to a report from the Washington-based Death Penalty Information Center.
The 52 executions nationwide last year represented a 41 percent increase from the 37 executions in 2008, the DPIC said in its annual report on capital punishment trends.
Karl Barth once asked a poignant question about capital punishment: “Now that Jesus Christ has been nailed to the cross for the sins of the world, how can we still use the thought of expiation to establish the death penalty?” With that in mind, I eagerly anticipated reading this book by Mark Osler, a professo
Killing people is a grisly business, even in the case of capital punishment. In Florida last year executioners found Angel Nieves Diaz still moving 24 minutes after the first administration of lethal drugs. They had mistakenly injected the drugs into the soft tissue of his arm instead of into a blood vessel.
The general secretary of the World Council of Churches, a body that opposes the death penalty, asked God to grant Iraq “the mercy, justice and compassion that it has long been denied” and “an end to the fear and death that marked Saddam Hussein’s rule.”
A U.S. Supreme Court decision this month to ban execution of juvenile offenders is finding strong support among some national religious groups.
The 5-4 decision will remove from death row about 70 individuals who were convicted of murders committed before they turned 18. Prosecutors will also be prevented from seeking the death penalty in future cases of juvenile capital crime.
A wide array of nearly 30 religious groups has called upon the U.S. Supreme Court to outlaw the execution of minors. The high court is expected to hear oral arguments in a juvenile death penalty case when its new term opens in the fall.
The United States ranks third, behind only China and Iran, in reported executions, according to Amnesty International’s annual report on the death penalty. It noted that four countries accounted for 84 percent of the 1,146 government-reported executions worldwide in 2003—the U.S. (65), China (726), Iran (108) and Vietnam (64).