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.

2003, September 30, Paul Hill, an anti abortion activist and zealot, is executed for shootings outside of the Ladies Center (an abortion clinic) in Pensacola, Florida.

2004, May 25, Twenty-five years after John Spenkelink dies in the electric chair, to mark that anniversary, Florida prepares to execute John Blackwelder. Florida leads the nation in executions with 58 since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976.

Execution Pictures

Electric Chair Pictures

The Lethal Injection Gurney Pictures

Women on Death Row

Death Penalty in the US




The Federal Death Penalty Act of 1994

The Federal Death Penalty Act of 1994 was enacted as Title VI of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. It became effective on September 13, 1994. See Pub. L. 103-322, Title VI, Sections 60001-26, Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 1959 (codified at 18 U.S.C. 3591-3598).

Congress established procedures for imposition of the death penalty for 60 offenses under 13 existing and 28 newly-created Federal capital statutes, which fall into three broad categories:

(1) homicide offenses;
(2) espionage and treason;
(3) non-homicidal narcotics offenses.

Drug-related killings under 21 U.S.C. 848(e) and political assassinations under 18 U.S.C. 1751 (presidential and staff) and 18 U.S.C. 351 (congressional and cabinet, etc.) are not expressly included in the Act's otherwise exhaustive listing of death penalty offenses. However, Section 3591(a)(2) of the Act expressly extends to "any other offense for which a sentence of death is provided . . . ."

The Terra Haute Federal Prison

The death penalty under 21 U.S.C. 848(e)(1)(A)-(B) was enacted as part of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 and became effective on November 18, 1988. See Pub. L. 100-690, Nov. 18, 1988, 102 Stat. 4181. In passing this legislation, Congress expressly intended to punish and deter anyone who intentionally kills or counsels, commands, induces, procures, or causes an intentional killing of: (A) any person while (1) engaging in or (2) working in furtherance of any continuing criminal enterprise, or (3) while engaging in a major Federal drug felony; or (B) any law enforcement officer during or in relation to a Federal drug felony. See 134 Cong. Rec. S. 16042 (daily ed. Oct. 14, 1988) (statement of Sen. D'Amato); see also 134 Cong. Rec. H. 7274 (daily ed. Sept. 8, 1988) (statement of Rep. Gekas). Offenses under 21 U.S.C. 848(e) include "any person" who commits or causes another to commit a drug-related intentional killing as defined by the statute, not just "drug kingpins."

At the end of 2001, there were nineteen people under a Federal Death Sentence.

Federal Laws Providing for the Death Penalty -2001

8 U.S.C 1342-Murder related to the smuggling of aliens.

18 U.S.C. 32-34-Destruction of aircraft, motor vehicles, or related facilities resulting in death

18 U.S.C. 36- Murder committed during a drug-related drive-by shooting.

18 U.S.C. 37- Murder committed at an airport serving international civil aviation.

18 U.S.C. 115(b)(3)[by cross-reference to 18 U.S.C. 1111]-- Retaliatory murder of a member of the immediate family of law enforcement officials.

18 U.S.C. 241,242, 245, 247 - Civil Rights offenses resulting in death.

18 U.S.C. 351[by cross-reference to 18 U.S.C. 1111]--Murder of a member of Congress, an imporant executive official, or a Supreme Court Justice.

18 U.S.C. 794- Espionage.

18 U.S.C. 844(d), (f) (i)--Death resulting from offenses involving transportation of explosives, destruction of government property, or destruction of property related to foreign or interstate commerce.

18 U.S.C. 924(i)-- Murder committed by the use of a firearm during a crime of violence or a drug-trafficking crime.

18 U.S.C. 930- Murder committed in a Federal Government facility.

18 U.S.C. 1091- Genocide.

18 U.S.C. 1111-First-degree murder.

18 U.S.C. 1114- Murder of a Federal judge or law enforcement official.

18 U.S.C. 1116- Murder of a foreign official

18 U.S.C. 1118- Murder by a Federal prisoner.

18 U.S.C. 1119 - Murder of a U.S. national in a foreign country.

18 U.S.C. 1120 - Murder by an escaped Federal prisoner already sentenced to life imprisonment.

18 U.S.C. 1121 - Murder of a State or local law enforcement official or other person aiding in a Federal investigation; murder of a State correctional officer.

18 U.S.C. 1201 - Murder during a kidnapping.

18 U.S.C. 1203 - Murder during a hostage taking.

18 U.S.C. 1503 - Murder of a court officer or juror.

18 U.S.C. 1512 - Murder with the intent of preventing testimony by a witness, victim or informant.

18 U.S.C. 1513 - Retaliatory murder of a witness, victim or informant.

18 U.S.C. 1716 - Mailing of injurious articles with intent to kill or resulting in death.

18 U.S.C. 1751[by cross-reference to 18 U.S.C. 1111] - Assassination or kidnapping resulting in the death of the President or Vice President.

18 U.S.C. 1958 - Murder for hire.

18 U.S.C. 1959 - Murder involved in a racketeering offense.

18 U.S.C. 1992 - Willful wrecking of a train resulting in death.

18 U.S.C. 2113 - bank-robbery- related murder or kidnapping.

18 U.S.C. 2119 - Murder related to a carjacking.

18 U.S.C. 2245 - Murder related to rape or child molestation.

18 U.S.C. 2251 - Murder related to sexual exploitation of children.

18 U.S.C. 2280 - Murder committed during an offense against maritime navigation.

18 U.S.C. 2281 - Murder committed during an offense against a maritime fixed platform.

18 U.S.C. 2332 - Terrorist murder of a U.S. national in another country.

18 U.S.C. 2332a - Murder by the use of a weapon of mass destruction.

18 U.S.C. 2340 - Murder involving torture.

18 U.S.C. 2381 - Treason.

21 U.S.C. 848(e) - Murder related to a continuing criminal enterprise or related murder of a Federal, State, or local law enforcement officer.

49 U.S.C. 1472-1473 - Death resulting from aircraft hijacking.

Method of execution of Federal Prisoners is lethal injection, pursuant to 28 CFR, Part 26.

For offenses under the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Adt 0f 1994, the method is that of the State in which the conviction took place, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 3596.

Death Penalty Statutes in New Jersey


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From My Blog

A good friend lost
Now Playing: Caroline Néron - Dans Nos Yeux

As happens once in a while, a friend from a few years back contacts me to catch up, touch base, say hello. My website and my listing in the alumni page at the University of Dayton School of Law leave a trail there for anyone who might care to find me and speak with me. Careful planning makes it so, unfortunately and for a number of reasons I don't often try to find old friends and old classmates. A LexisNexis search, a run through Google or a look through the alumni directory would be sufficient for me to find anyone I would desire to find but I don't do it. There is always time. Time sometime later to make that small effort. So as a result I don't look up people. There is always time right? Yah. Well a friend of mine, Marc did take the time to look me up and it was good to hear from him. In our emails back and forth he mentions a fellow classmate, Andy Johnson or as was the running joke for us "Andy's Johnson."

Andy was a tall, gangly fellow with the disposition of a puppy. We'd constantly make our "Andy's Johnson," clever remarks and he'd smile and never took offense and we never meant any. He was a fellow who seemed not to have a hostile bone in his body and it seemed to me that it would never occur to him to say a bad word about anyone. When he would talk it seemed like he was always laughing even when he wasn't. A smile on his face and he'd always be genuinely glad to see you. When he would tell a joke it was like he was a little kid saying something he knew that grownups would disapprove of so his jokes or something funny were told only after he looked around to make sure that someone who might take offense would be out of earshot.

At the end of a long hard week in class he'd come down to the local watering hole that some of us had taken as our own. BW3's on Friday after class was where we would grab some hot wings, some happy hour beer and we'd pull some tables together, enough to accommodate however many of us would show up. Andy would laugh with us and we'd talk about what funny things happened in class. Sometimes he'd get a bit excited, a beer or two down the evening and when he wanted to say something and his words were tripping around on his tongue his eyes would sparkle and the smile on his face would broaden as if to acknowledge that he thought he was being a bit foolish or silly. But we would slap him on his back, laugh at his jokes and generally do the things that friends would do with each other as we recognize everyone who would want to be in the conversation and who would likewise have a patience and joy with us.
I can't begin to tell you how wonderful a person Andy was or how everyone instantly liked him. It's like you can instantly sense who is a good hearted person and who you would like to think of you as a good hearted and good person. I know I thought very well of him and he was the kind of person you hoped thought well of you. He was also the kind of person whose friendship you didn't have to buy. This speaks to a character flaw of mine, I took it for granted that he would be there with a smile and a happy hug for me whenever I did get around to seeing him or contacting him. I know he was the kind of man who would be there for me if I was the kind of person who asked anyone for help or support. A good man with a good soul and a huge heart. My friend Marc told me that he had finally gotten a nice job in Ohio and was on his way to work one morning when he got in a car accident. Andy died that morning. Marc tells me that he thinks about Andy often. I haven't stopped thinking about Andy since hearing about this untimely end to this good young man.

There is no question in my mind that life is not fair. Evil people live and prosper, good people who struggle and fight to get ahead in life die in car accidents. Life is short and brutish and it's a sack full of misery, pain, horror and suffering. A person like Andy makes you almost believe that isn't true, his warm smile and good heart carved a bit of hope and kindness into the world and he will be missed.

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