In 1967 Luis Jose Monge is the last person to be executed in the United States for ten years. He is executed in Colorado's Gas Chamber.

In 1972 the US Supreme Court rules in Furman v. Georgia that the death penalty as implemented by the State of Georgia where the jury has complete discretion to decide death or life in prison is unconstitutional. The result being that all death penalty statutes in all states were struck down. This removed 629 inmates from death rows throughout the country.

The US Supreme Court rules in 1976 through two cases, Gregg v. George and Jurek v. Texas that a death sentence is not a per se violation of the 8th Amendment.

In 1977 Gary Gilmore becomes the first person executed in the United States in ten years. Gary Gilmore is executed in Utah by a firing squad.

In 1977 the Supreme Court rules in Coker v. Georgia that a death sentence for the crime of rape where death does not result is disproportionate and violates the Eighth Amendments prohibition against 'cruel and unusual punishments.'

In 1979 John Spenkelink is the second person executed in twelve years. Florida executes him in the electric chair.

1982 Texas executes Charles Brooks by lethal injection. This is the first execution by lethal injection.

1984 In North Carolina, Velma Barfield becomes the first woman to be executed in the United States since the reinstatement of the death penalty.

1985 the US Supreme Court rules in Ford v. Wainright that it is unconstitutional to execute the insane.

1987 the Supreme Court rules in Thompson v. Oklahoma that a death sentence may not be imposed on someone for a murder committed when they are 15 years old.

1989 the US Supreme Court rules in Stanford v. Kentucky that the Constitution does not prohibit the execution of 16 year olds who are convicted of murder and are sentenced to death.

1989 the US Supreme Court rules in Penry v. Lynaugh that executing mentally retarded people does not violate the Eighth Amendment.

1993 Westley Dodd becomes the first person in decades to be executed by hanging. He is hanged by the state of Washington.

1997 Timothy McVeigh becomes the 13th inmate on the federal death row.

1998 Karla Faye Tucker is executed by the state of Texas.

1999 sees the completion of the new lethal injection chamber at the federal penitentiary at Terre Haute, Indiana. All of the federal death row prisoners are moved there.

2000 Frank Lee Smith who spent 14 years on death row in Florida and who died there of cancer is posthumously cleared by DNA evidence.

2000, Illinois Governor George Ryan declares a moratorium on implementing the death penalty after a series of events and publicity shows severe problems in the process.

2001 in June of that year Timothy McVeigh becomes the first federal prisoner to be executed since 1963.

2001 Georgia's Supreme Court rules that electrocution is cruel and unusual punishment. Georgia switches over to lethal injection.

2002 April, Ray Krone is released from Arizona prison after DNA proves his innocence. He had been sentenced to death in 1992

2002 May, Maryland Governor Parris Glendening imposes a moratorium on executions.

June 2002 the US Supreme Court in Atkins v. Virginia rules that execution of the mentally retarded is cruel and unusual punishment. This reverses the Penry v. Lynaugh decision of 1989

2002 October, serial killer Aileen Wuornos is executed by the state of Florida.

2003, January, Governor George Ryan commutes all 167 condemned men on Illinois death row.

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Department of Corrections Websites

If you are looking for in depth death penalty information then look at my list of state and federal web sites. If the sites have death penalty information I let you know and give you the link. All information stated comes from the accompanying web site listed. If there is any information missing or I have made a mistake please do let me know about it.

Federal Bureau of Prisons

Alabama
A death penalty state. The economy may be bad but the Alabama Prison industries seems to be going strong and there's information about all the products produced.

Alaska
Statistical information available. A limited sex offender registry

Arizona
A death penalty state. Inmate information, general information, victim information, Death penalty information, death row inmate information, good statistics including crime information, case numbers and photos. Here

Arkansas
A death penalty state. Historical photos of prisons and prisonersInformation about inmates under death sentence in the state of Arkansas. 41 people under death sentence

California
A death penalty state. Statistics and history of death penalty information available on site. 599 men under sentence of death in California, 13 women. 256 white, 217 black, 115 hispanic and 34 other. PDF files. Stephen Wayne Anderson was the latest person executed on January 29, 2002 after having been on death row for over 20 years..

Colorado
A death penalty state. Death row information available, No inmate search, no sex offender search. Archive information available. 5 men under a death sentence, 2 black men, 2 hispanic and one white.

Connecticut
A death penalty state. Victim information available. Statistical information available. 7 men under sentence of death on Connecticut.

Delaware
A death penalty state. 15 people on death row. The first person executed when the death penalty was reinstated was Steven Brian Pennell on March 14, 1992. The cost of his execution was $$47,085.00.

Florida
A death penalty state, inmate photos, statistical information, death penalty information.

Georgia
A Death Penalty state, Statistical information available, 123 people under a death sentence in Georgia, 65 white men, 57 black men and one woman

Idaho
A death penalty state, Statistical information available, no sex offender info, 22 people under a death sentence in Idaho. 21 male and one female. No prisoner photos available.

Illinois
A death penalty state. Under a moratorium and now those death sentences are under review. More info at the death penalty page.

Indiana
A death penalty state. Statistical information available. Offender search available by name. 38 people on death row. A list of pictures and the history of each person from the Prosecuting Attorney's Office of Clark County is online here.

Iowa
Another 'Prison Industries' state. Inmate lookup. Otherwise pretty lean.

Kansas
Listings of various facilities in state, victim and witness notification program, offender search available.

Kentucky
A death penalty state. Information about the death sentenced inmates on site. 36 people are under sentence of death in Kentucky. 26 are white males, 8 are black, one hispanic and one white female.

Louisiana
Statistics available onsite, PDF files. Fairly devoid of useful information. You can send away for their frequently asked questions information. In August 2003, Louisiana has become the first state to sentence a man for a non death offense. Patrick Kennedy has been sentenced to death for the rape of an 8 year old child.

Nebraska
The most 'compassionate' site I've seen so far. On the first page it lets you know that 70 percent of inmates didn't have jobs prior to committing their crimes-ergo we should work on employment as a way to stop crime before it happens. The most enlightened thing I've seen yet. An inmate search- you need to know who you are looking for to begin with.

New York
How could I forget New York. This state technically has the death penalty and there are five men on death row. No person has been executed in New York since 1963. Their numbers has just been increased by one with the death sentence to John Taylor who was sentenced to death by lethal injection for the killing two employees of a Queens area Wendy's fast food store.

Maine
Lists the one prison and various correctional facilities.

Maryland
A death penalty state. Statistical information about the death penalty, to include history, law. Victim services, sex offender registry to include downloadable listings of sex offenders and links to other sex offender lists from other states. Here

Massachusetts
Statistical information available. No general inmate locator, (you need to call and have specific info about your search)

Michigan
Offender seach, victim resources, information about the various prisons and camps in the state to include photos of prisons, statistical information, charts, PDF files.

Minnesota
No death penalty. Statistical information, inmate locator, sex offender locator to include pictures, names of dead sex offenders as well, PDF files

Mississippi
A death penalty state. 66 people on Mississippi death row with one of them being a woman.

Missouri
A horrible website in need of a design and a rethink. Some information available.

Montana
A death penalty state. They have 6 men under a death sentence and have not executed anyone since Terry Langford in 1998 and Duncan McKenzie in 1995.

New Hampshire
Just a bit of information here, like the total prison population from 1812 to 2000. (in 1812 there was one person in prison in New Hampshire and in 2000 there were 2,356 people in prison.)

New Jersey
Statistical information, inmate information available (presumably) via a phone number on site. PDF files.

New Mexico
An over use of flash in this site. New Mexico has become a death penalty state and executed it's first person in 41 years. On November 6, 2001 Terry D. Clark was given a lethal injection. He had been given the death penalty as He had kidnapped, raped and then murdered Dena Lynn Gore on July 17, 1986. He was at the time free on bond for having kidnapped and raped a six year old girl. Read the news brief about it here.

New York
Statistical information available offline. Pretty thin offerings.

North Carolina
Statistical information, serious statistical information available for research, inmate search, information on sex offender search.

Ohio
A Death penalty state. Prison industries, ex offender employment, victim information, PDF files, statistics available. death penalty information available. 202 people under a death sentence in Ohio. 102 black, 93 white, 3 hispanic and 4 other.

Oklahoma
A death penalty state. Offender information, offender lookup, sex offender information, statistical information, pdf files. 109 people on death row, 59 white, 39 black, 4 hispanic, 6 indian, 1 other

Oregon


Douglas Franklin Wright, first execution in Oregon IN 34 years in 1996 at a cost of nearly $200,000.
A death penalty state. Statistical information available, death row information, 27 people on death row in Oregon, 23 white, 2 hispanic, 1 black, 1 native american.

Pennsylvania
A death penalty state, Inmate locator, Virtual Tours, Statistical Information at this link. 245 people on death row, 75 white, 153 black, 15 hispanic, 2 asian, 5 women.

Rhode Island
Informational site, mission statements, statistical information available.

South Carolina
Death Penalty State, Statistical information available, 70 people on death row, 34 black, 36 white, no females as of 2001.

South Dakota
A death penalty state. Statistical information available, 5 men under a death sentence.

Tennessee
A death penalty state. Death penalty statistics available. 96 people on death row in Tennessee. 55 white, 38 black, 2 hispanic 1 native american and 2 females.

Texas
One of the largest states in the Union and one of the biggest death penalty states. Statistical information available. Death penalty information available. Ex offender information available as well, -for employment.

Utah
Sex offender registry that is searchable. Fairly lean on the statistics and information. There is the 'Prison Industries' site though.

Vermont
Prison industries, victim information, inmate search ability.

Virginia
A death penalty state. Home of the infamous Red Onion Maximum security prison-here. Prison information including a virtual tour of a maximun security cell. Sex offender registry. Victim services, prison industries, inmate locator (with proper info about prisoner) . Absolutely no information about the death penalty on site.

Washington
A death penalty state. History of their death penalty with statistics. General prisoner statistics available. Detailed information about the process of administering the death penalty are laid out here.10 men on under sentence of death in Washington state.

Wisconsin
Supermax prison, list of prisons, sex offender locator information for those who are registered victims. See this and fish through the side menu.

Wyoming
Department of Corrections for Wyoming, History, press releases, one penitentiary, one woman's facility and two honor farms. Pictures and pdf files at this site.

 

 

 

 


 



Death by Electrocution Described

As you can tell from the pictures, the head is shaved and the person is completely restrained. The mouth is covered by a thick leather strap to muffle the screams and another thinner leather strap is placed under the chin to hold the head up. A hood is placed over the head so that the unpleasant view of a person in his death agony is not seen by the witnesses or executioners. Death is not instantaneous.

U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice William Brennan (He served on the Supreme Court from March 19, 1957 to July 20, 1990 )once offered the following description of an execution by electric chair:...the prisoner's eyeballs sometimes pop out and rest on [his] cheeks. The prisoner often defecates, urinates, and vomits blood and drool. The body turns bright red as its temperature rises, and the prisoner's fleshs wells and his skin stretches to the point of breaking. Sometimes the prisoner catches fire....Witnesses hear a loud and sustained sound like bacon frying, and the sickly sweet smell of burning flesh permeates the chamber. (Ecenbarger, 1994)

W. Ecenbarger, "Perfecting Death: When the state kills it must do so humanely. Is that possible?," The Philadelphia Inquirer Magazine, January 23, 1994.

Death Schedule in Texas for 2003

In the state of Texas there are 18 convicted people scheduled for execution in 2003. In 2002 Texas executed 33 and has executed 290 since it reinstated it's death penalty in 1982.

 

Government Death Penalty Statistics

If you are doing your report on the Death Penalty or wish to know more about this issue then I commend you to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Every year in December the statistics for the year are published. The good news is that fewer people are being sentenced to death and the number of executions are staying relatively low. For instance, in the year 2000 there were 85 people executed, a 13 percent drop in the number of people executed from the year before and those by 14 states. In 2001 the number of people executed was down to 65 and those by 15 states plus two by the federal government (Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and drug leader Juan Raul Garza) I 2002 the number as of December 11 is 68. In 2001 the death row population fell from 3,601 in 2000 to 3,581. Plenty of statistics worth pondering.

 

United States Supreme Court Rules No Death Penalty for Retarded

On June 20, 2002 the Supreme Court ruled 6 to 3 in the case Atkins v. Virginia, that the imposition of the death penalty for retarded people was cruel and unusual punishment which is prohibited by the Eighth Amendment. The reason the law has changed from the Penry v. Lynaugh standard is because the standard in this case is judged by prevailing standards of decency. An evolution in the standards of decency has occurred and more states have changed their laws to say that executing mentally retarded people is not permitted. This change in society is now reflected in the decision of the Supreme Court. The opinion can be read at Cornell here.

 

IMPONDERABLES- AMBROSE HARRIS 

Whether you 'believe' in the death penalty or not here is an interesting situation to ponder on. In Trenton, New Jersey one death row inmate, Ambrose Harris killed another death row inmate named Robert 'Mudman' Simon in 1999. Ambrose Harris, 50 years old now, was sentenced to die for a 1992 muderof Lower Makefield artist Kristin Huggins, and killed the Mudman by jumping off a table and crushing his skull. The question that begs to be answered is how do you punish the man who is sentenced to death for killing another death row inmate? He's already on death row and New Jersey hasn't executed a man since 1963. The Death Penalty was reinstated in New Jersey by referendum in 1992. An interesting  point to ponder whether you believe in the death penalty or not.I knew this already but some folks don't know- Ambrose Harris was found not guilty of the murder this last June in a Freehold New Jersey courtroom. He was also found not guilty of manslaughter. If you are a student looking to research this then I suggest that you use the library and search for articles in THE RECORD, a Bergen County NJ newspaper. Still, the logical problem remains interesting. If you have death penalty links you think should be here please email me at gil@gadlaw.com.

Illinois has 'exonerated' more people than it's Executed

Illinois, in response to the publicity surrounding a legal system that has found more people on death row to be not guilty than the number it has executed has decided to 'halt the efforts to put folks to death' while a review is under way. What bad publicity you ask? Well....

The Chicago Tribune has a five part article on the death penalty in Illinois. A stinging indictment of a particularly corrupt and out of control system which you can find here.  

 The American Civil Liberties Union has a page on their site which follows death penalty news in the United States which you can find here.  

 If you're looking for a scholarly review of how often the Death Penalty is applied to innocent people you can read one in the Duke Law Journal which is online. Samuel Gross wrote this article and you can find it here. 

If you'd like to see a breakdown of how many people have been executed and how many by each state over the years then you should go here.