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The Voter’s Speakeasy featuring unbiased reporting and insight into life at Vote Smart from our staff, interns, and volunteers.

Where Does the Death Penalty Stand in 2016?

2016 August 12

The death penalty has been a hotly debated topic for centuries, but just recently in 2016, it has for the first time in history become part of an official party platform - that of the Democratic Party, who supports abolishing it.

According to Amnesty International, in 2010 the majority of all known executions took place in five countries – China, Iran, North Korea, Yemen and the U.S. With America being the only Western country in this list, the question arises: where does the death penalty stand as of 2016?

Proponents of abolishing the death penalty cite fiscal savings, the risk of executing the wrongly-convicted, and the morality of the practice as reasons for eradication of capital punishment. Yet supporters of the death penalty argue that there are no fiscal savings, that the use of DNA evidence provides safeguards against wrongful conviction, and that it is an important public safety tool.

Many states passed legislation regarding capital punishment in the past year, with mixed results. Utah successfully passed legislation that abolished the practice, but similar legislation in other states has failed. Delaware’s Senate passed a bill repealing the use of the death penalty but went forth to fail in the House. Nebraska also passed legislation, which was ultimately unsuccessful after being vetoed by Governor Pete Ricketts.

Nonetheless, Nebraska will see the repeal of the death penalty as a ballot measure referendum in November. Similarly, California will also have death penalty reform as a ballot measure.

In comparison, North Carolina extended the ability of non-physicians to monitor ...

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