Californians’ Support for Death Penalty Goes Against Trend

photo credit: wootom

Even as Californians voted to maintain the death penalty, the nation’s support for capital punishment continued to wane in 2012, with relatively few states performing executions.

Only nine states executed inmates in 2012, and three-fourths of the executions occurred in Texas, Arizona, Oklahoma and Mississippi, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, a monitoring group critical of capital punishment. Connecticut became the fifth state in five years to abolish capital punishment.

California, whose voters rejected a November ballot measure to repeal the death penalty, is not expected to resume executions for three years, according to Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye. Litigation has blocked executions in California for nearly seven years.

Despite its unused execution chamber, California’s death row, already the largest in the nation, continued to swell in 2012. Fourteen inmates were added, mostly from Los Angeles and Riverside counties.

Nationally, there were fewer than 80 new death sentences, the second-lowest number since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976, the center said.

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