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.





Federal Death Penalty Crimes

The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, 21 U.S.C. § 848(e), created capital punishment for drug-related killings.

The 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act created several new federal capital offenses and added procedural clarifications to executing these sentences. Prior to the 1994 Act, some federal courts had found some federal death penalty statutes unconstitutionally arbitrary under Furman v. Georgia, 408 U.S. 238 (1972). The 1994 Act attempted to remedy this by including several sections on procedure, statutory aggravating and mitigating circumstances, and appointment of counsel.

Supreme Court:

Loving v. United States, 517 U.S. 748 (1996) (upholding constitutionality of military death penalty; President's prescription of aggravating factors does not violate separation of powers).

Ninth Circuit:

United States v. Cheely, 36 F.3d 1439 (9th Cir. 1994) (holding that 18 U.S.C. §§ 844(d) and 1716(a), providing federal death penalty for mail bombing, unconstitutionally allow disparate and arbitrary sentencing, do not "genuinely narrow class of persons eligible for death penalty," and thus violate Furman v. Georgia).

Other Circuits:

United States v. Quinones, 313 F.3d 49 (2nd Cir. 2002) (holding that the Federal Death Penalty Act does not violate the Due Process Clause; also holding, relying on Herrera v. Collins (see §, that the district court erred in recognizing a fundamental right of an innocent person not to be deprived, by execution, of the opportunity to demonstrate that person's actual innocence).

United States v. Battle, 173 F.3d 1343, 1350 (11th Cir. 1999) (holding that 18 U.S.C. § 3596 is a constitutional delegation of federal power), cert. denied, 529 U.S. 1022 (2000).

United States v. Webster, 162 F.3d 308 (5th Cir) (upholding constitutionality of the Federal Death Penalty Act of 1994), cert. denied, 528 U.S. 829 (1999).

United States v. Moore, 149 F.3d 773, 778 n.2 (8th Cir.) (finding nothing unconstitutionally vague in § 848(e)), cert. denied, 525 U.S. 1030 (1998).

United States v. Walker, 142 F.3d 103 (2d Cir.) (finding § 848(e) a valid exercise of Congress under the Commerce Clause), cert. denied, 525 U.S. 896 (1998).

United States v. Tipton, 90 F.3d 861 (4th Cir. 1996) (upholding constitutionality of § 848; Congress' power to legislate means of executing death sentence not exclusive power of executive branch), cert. denied, 520 U.S. 1253 (1997).

United States v. McCullah, 76 F.3d 1087 (10th Cir. 1996) (holding statutory and nonstatutory aggravating factors in § 848(e) prosecution constitutionally valid), cert. denied, 520 U.S. 1213 (1997).

United States v. Chandler, 996 F.2d 1073 (11th Cir. 1993) (affirming conviction and death sentence; holding that the sentencing procedures under 21 U.S.C. § 848 do not violate the Eighth Amendment), cert. denied, 512 U.S. 1227 (1994).

United States v. Woolard, 981 F.2d 756 (5th Cir. 1993) (finding federal statute providing for death penalty for first degree murder of various federal employees unconstitutional because does not require weighing of mitigating evidence).

United States v. Villareal, 963 F.2d 725 (5th Cir.) (holding § 848(e) constitutional; states a crime, not merely a sentencing provision), cert. denied, 506 U.S. 927 (1992).

Rulings in District Courts:

United States v. Holloway, 29 F. Supp. 2d 435 (M.D. Tenn. 1998) (denying defendant's motion to dismiss request for death penalty and request for discovery from Department of Justice because defendant failed to present "clear evidence" of discriminatory effect and intent).

United States v. Beckford, 966 F. Supp. 1415 (E.D. Va. 1997) (holding that 18 U.S.C. 848(e)(1)(A) is neither unconstitutional on its face nor as applied since jury could convict on drug conspiracy charge without convicting on murder charge).

United States v. Boyd, 931 F. Supp. 968 (D.R.I. 1996) (holding Department of Justice death penalty authorization procedure not critical stage of prosecution and thus denial of defendant's requested discovery did not violate Sixth Amendment).

Nichols v. Reno, 931 F. Supp. 748 (D. Colo. 1996) (holding Attorney General's public statements in aftermath of Oklahoma City bombing that prosecutors would seek death penalty was insufficient charge of bias to support constitutional challenge to notice; death penalty protocol in U.S. Attorney's Manual does not provide defendant with judicially enforceable substantive or procedural rights), aff'd, 124 F.3d 1376 (10th Cir. 1997).

United States v. Nguyen, 928 F. Supp. 1525 (D. Kan. 1996) (upholding constitutionality of 18 U.S.C. § 924; holding statutory definition of capital offense under § 924 constitutional; statutory aggravating factors constitutional; federal death penalty statute provided meaningful review, proportionality review not required), aff'd, 155 F.3d 1219 (10th Cir. 1998), and cert. denied, 525 U.S. 1167 (1999).

Walker v. Reno, 925 F. Supp. 124 (N.D.N.Y. 1995) (finding Attorney General's determination to seek death penalty is action committed to agency discretion as mater of law; Attorney General Protocol is improper and insufficient source from which district court can draw law and apply it to review Attorney General's determination).

United States v. DesAnges, 921 F. Supp. 349 (W.D. Va. 1996) (holding § 848 does not unconstitutionally delegate legislative power to executive branch by allowing prosecutors to identify nonstatutory aggravating factors; § 848 adequately narrows death eligible class; no showing of racial bias in government's seeking of death penalty), aff'd, 134 F.3d 364 (4th Cir. 1997), cert. denied, 524 U.S. 911 (1998).

United States v. Nelson, 920 F. Supp. 825 (M.D. Tenn. 1996) (upholding constitutionality of 18 U.S.C. § 2113(c); concluding that "if death results" clause merely enhances penalty and does not create new offense).

United States v. Tidwell, No. 94-CR-353, 1995 WL 764077 (E.D. Pa. Dec. 22, 1995) (upholding constitutionality of 21 U.S.C. § 848(e); § 848(e) is a substantive offense, not just sentencing provision; language of § 848(e) not ambiguous–sufficient nexus between murder and continuing criminal enterprise).

United States v. Walker, 910 F. Supp. 837 (N.D.N.Y. 1995) (holding § 848(e) does not unconstitutionally limit scope of appellate review).

United States v. Davis, 904 F. Supp. 554 (E.D. La. 1995) (upholding constitutionality of 18 U.S.C. § 3591, § 241 and § 1512, following Flores; finding aggravating circumstances sufficiently narrowed class of eligible defendants, even though required in all capital cases; § 3592 not vague or overly broad; § 3592's discretion to prosecutor to argue nonstatutory aggravating factors is proper delegation of legislative authority to executive because statutory factors designate minimum requirements).

United States v. Bradley, 880 F. Supp. 271 (M.D. Pa. 1994) (rejecting statistical evidence as basis for claim that federal death penalty applied in racially discriminatory manner; upholding constitutionality of § 848; government's reliance on nonstatutory aggravating circumstances did not violate nondelegation doctrine).

United States v. Menzer, 817 F. Supp. 64 (E.D. Wis. 1993) (holding 18 U.S.C. § 34, which provides for death penalty for death caused by aircraft or motor vehicle felony, unconstitutional).

United States v. Pitera, 795 F. Supp. 546 (E.D.N.Y.) (upholding constitutionality of § 848(e)), aff'd, 986 F.2d 499 (2d Cir. 1992).

United States v. Pretlow, 779 F. Supp. 758 (D.N.J. 1991) (upholding constitutionality of § 848(e)).

United States v. Cooper, 754 F. Supp. 617 (N.D. Ill. 1990) (denying defendant's motion to prevent government from seeking death penalty under 21 U.S.C. § 848(e)), aff'd, 19 F.3d 1154 (7th Cir. 1994).

Federal Statutes:

8 U.S.C. § 1324(a)(1)(B) (2000) (providing death penalty for illegal transportation of alien resulting in death).

18 U.S.C. § 32 (2000) (defining crime of destruction of aircraft or aircraft facilities).

18 U.S.C. § 33 (2000) (defining crime of destruction of motor vehicles or motor vehicle facilities).

18 U.S.C. § 34 (2000) (providing death penalty for violation of § 32 and § 33 resulting in death).

18 U.S.C. § 36(b)(2) (2000) (providing death penalty for drive-by shooting resulting in death).

18 U.S.C. § 37(a) (2000) (providing death penalty for fatal violence in international airports).

18 U.S.C. § 241 (2000) (providing death penalty for conspiracy to violate civil rights resulting in death).

18 U.S.C. § 242 (2000) (providing death penalty for willful deprivation of federal rights resulting in death).

18 U.S.C. § 245(b) (2000) (providing death penalty for interference with federally protected activities resulting in death).

18 U.S.C. § 247(d)(1) (2000) (providing death penalty for obstruction of free exercise of religious rights resulting in death).

18 U.S.C. § 351 (2000) (providing death penalty for murder of members of Congress, cabinet officers, Supreme Court justices, federal judges, families of federal officials with intent to impede or retaliate).

18 U.S.C. § 794 (2000) (providing death penalty for espionage offenses involving identification of U.S. agent to a foreign power).

18 U.S.C. § 844(d) (2000) (providing death penalty for interstate explosives offense resulting in death).

18 U.S.C. § 844(f)(3) (2000) (providing death penalty for damage of federal property by fire or explosives resulting in death).

18 U.S.C. § 844(i) (2000) (providing death penalty for damage of federal property affecting commerce by fire or explosives resulting in death)

18 U.S.C. § 924(j)(1) (2000) (providing death penalty for murder with firearm in course of federal violent crime or drug crime).

18 U.S.C. § 930(c) (2000), as amended by Act of Oct. 26, 2001, Pub. L. 107-56, 115 Stat. 381 (providing death penalty for murder during firearms attack in or on federal facility).

18 U.S.C. § 1091(b)(1) (2000) (providing death penalty for genocide).

18 U.S.C. § 1111(b) (2000) (providing death penalty for murder in special maritime and territorial jurisdiction).

18 U.S.C. § 1114 (2000) (providing death penalty for murder of federal employees and law enforcement officers).

18 U.S.C. § 1116(a) (2000) (providing death penalty for murder of diplomats or certain foreign officials).

18 U.S.C. § 1118 (2000) (providing death penalty for murder by lifetime federal prisoner).

18 U.S.C. § 1119 (2000) (providing death penalty for murder of U.S. national in foreign country).

18 U.S.C. § 1120 (2000) (providing death penalty for murder by escaped federal prisoner).

18 U.S.C. § 1121 (2000) (providing death penalty for murder of state employees, officials, or law enforcement officers assisting in federal investigation).

18 U.S.C. § 1201(a) (2000) (providing death penalty for kidnaping resulting in death).

18 U.S.C. § 1203(a) (2000) (providing death penalty for hostage-taking resulting in death).

18 U.S.C. § 1503(b)(1) (2000) (providing death penalty for murder of court officer, juror).

18 U.S.C. § 1512(a)(2)(A) (2000) (providing death penalty for killing with intent to tamper with witness, victim, or informant).

18 U.S.C. § 1513 (2000) (providing death penalty for retaliatory murders of witnesses).

18 U.S.C. § 1716 (2000) (providing death penalty for mailing dangerous articles where death results).

18 U.S.C. § 1751 (2000) (providing death penalty for murder of president, vice president, high-level members of president's or vice president's staffs).

18 U.S.C. § 1958 (2000) (providing death penalty for use of interstate commerce facilities in commission of murder for hire).

18 U.S.C. § 1959(a)(1) (2000) (providing death penalty for murder in aid of racketeering).

18 U.S.C. § 1992 (2000) (providing death penalty for wrecking trains where death results).

18 U.S.C. § 2113(e) (2000) (providing death penalty for murder in course of bank robbery).

18 U.S.C. § 2119(3) (2000) (providing death penalty for carjacking resulting in death).

18 U.S.C. § 2245 (2000) (providing death penalty for sexual abuse offenses resulting in death).

18 U.S.C. § 2251(d) (2000) (providing death penalty for child sexual exploitation resulting in death).

18 U.S.C. § 2280 (2000) (providing death penalty for acts of violence against maritime navigation resulting in death).

18 U.S.C. § 2281 (2000) (providing death penalty for violence against maritime fixed platforms).

18 U.S.C. § 2332(a)(1) (2000) (providing death penalty for terrorism outside the U.S. resulting in death).

18 U.S.C. § 2332a (2000) (providing death penalty for use of weapons of mass destruction resulting in death).

18 U.S.C. § 2332b (2000), as amended by Act of Oct. 26, 2001, Pub. L. 107-56, 115 Stat. 378 (providing death penalty for terrorist act, which transcended national boundaries, resulting in death).

18 U.S.C. § 2340A (2000) (providing death penalty for torture resulting in death).

18 U.S.C. § 2381 (2000) (providing death penalty for treason).

18 U.S.C. § 2441 (2000) (providing death penalty for breaches of Geneva Convention resulting in death).

21 U.S.C. § 848(e) (2000) (providing death penalty for drug kingpins and leaders of major drug trafficking enterprises who murder or direct another to murder in order to obstruct justice or further the enterprise).

49 U.S.C. § 46502 (1994 & Supp. V 1999) (providing death penalty for aircraft piracy where death results).




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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