Study finds capital punishment in decline in the US

Study finds capital punishment in decline in the US

 Use of the death penalty has fallen to its lowest level since capital punishment was reinstated in the United States in 1976, according to a report released on Thursday by a nonprofit that tracks death penalty data.

The Washington-based Death Penalty Information Center reported a 75 percent drop in death sentences since 1996. Through mid-December, there were 78 new death sentences in 2011, compared to 112 a year earlier. It is the first time the number has dropped below 100 in a single year since the Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment, the group said.

The number of executions, at 43, was down 56 percent since 1999 when there were 98.

“This is a historic drop in death sentences. It’s indicative of a mood around the country that the death penalty has risks, flaws and needs to be reexamined,” said Richard Dieter, the executive director of the center and author of the report.

A growing number of states have abandoned capital punishment in recent years, including New York, New Jersey and New Mexico. In January, Illinois’ governor signed a law abolishing the death penalty, bringing the total number of non-death penalty states up to 16. In November, Oregon’s governor halted a pending execution and said no more executions would occur in his term, describing the capital punishment system as “compromised and inequitable.”

In Ohio, the chief judge of the state’s Supreme Court appointed a task force to address problems with the administration of the death penalty.

The center says the growing discomfort with the death penalty is, in part, due to recent high-profile executions like that of Troy Davis. The case drew international attention as protesters expressed doubts over Davis’ guilt in the 1989 murder of a Georgia police officer. Since his conviction, several key witnesses recanted their testimony and said police coerced them to testify against Davis.

In October, the Gallup Poll, which tracks public opinion, reported the lowest level of support and highest level of opposition to capital punishment in almost 40 years. The poll found that 61 percent of those surveyed supported the death penalty for a person convicted of murder, down from 80 percent in 1994. Thirty-five percent opposed the death penalty, up from 13 percent in 1995.

The Supreme Court stopped use of the death penalty in 1972, finding that death sentences had been applied in an arbitrary and discriminatory way. In 1976, the court allowed executions to resume in extreme criminal cases where states’ sentencing procedures built in sufficient protections.

(Reporting by Terry Baynes at Reuters Legal – Our apologies, but the original article has moved)


Florida Death Penalty Statistics

The following statistics have been compiled from data collected since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. For more information on the inmates on Florida’s Death Row, go to our Death Row Roster or our Execution List. These provide specific statistics on each inmate.

Statistics on Executed inmates in Florida*

*Refers to inmates executed after the death penalty was reinstated in Florida, beginning with John Spenkelink’s execution in May 1979.

Florida Death Row Attorney 12.91 years is the average length of stay on Death Row prior to execution.
Florida Death Row Attorney 14.12 years is the average number of years between offense and execution.
Florida Death Row Attorney 44.40 years is the average age at time of execution.
Florida Death Row Attorney 30.28 years is the average age at offense for executed inmates.


Executions each year since the
reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976
1979 1 1997 1
1980-82 0 1998 4
1983 1 1999 1
1984 8 2000 6
1985 3 2001 1
1986 3 2002 3
1987 1 2003 3
1988 2 2004 2
1989 2 2005 1
1990 4 2006 4
1991 2 2007 0
1992 2 2008 2
1993 3 2009 2
1994 1 2010 1
1995 3 2011 1
1996 2
Total    70




Halloween Urban Legend? Traffic is the real child safety issue

Halloween Urban Legend? Traffic is the real child safety issue

A Real Safety Issue: Traffic

It appears that the dangers associated with urban legends such as poisoned candy, razor blades in apples, and satanic rituals are overblown and largely overestimated. The lack of evidence for these urban legends does not, of course, imply that parents and caregivers should be unconcerned about safety issues when children are allowed to trick-or-treat. Some aspects of trick-or-treating may be dangerous, and it has been indicated that the most serious of these is probably traffic. Part of the problem is the presence of drunk drivers. In 1998, for example, more than 20% of all fatalities that occurred during that Halloween weekend were alcohol-related. Adult drinking and driving is not the only culprit, however; factors such as dark costumes which are difficult for drivers to see are also part of the problem, and kids often are easily excitable on Halloween and perhaps as a result more likely to impulsively run out into traffic. Many young children aren’t ready to handle street crossing by themselves and frequently overestimate how quickly they can cross over to the other side of a street.

In compiling data from Halloween-related traffic fatalities from 1975 through 1996, the Centers for Disease Control, the Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention, and the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control reported that, for children ages 5–14, an average of four deaths per year occurred during peak trick-or-treat evening hours, whereas an average of one death occurred in this age group per year on every other day of the year. An addendum to the report “warns the figure may be low, since it does not include accidents that occur in driveways, parking lots and on sidewalks, nor does it include data beyond 10 PM or from another day”.

Ultimately, it would appear that sadists or satanists are not nearly as much a threat to children on Halloween as are cars, trucks, and SUVs.

These figures suggest that the likelihood of a child becoming involved in a fatal accident is only slightly higher on Halloween than on any other day. Although the death of even one child in a traffic accident is one too many, the realization that such accidents remain extremely rare can hopefully provide some needed comfort — and perspective — to frequently anxious parents and caregivers concerned about their children’s safety on Halloween.




Florida DUI Laws

Florida DUI Laws

Drunk Driving Penalties in Florida

If you drink alcohol and operate a vehicle, you dramatically increase your chance of being involved in an auto accident. In addition, if you are pulled over and the officer asks you to take a blood, urine or breath test you are required to comply. Florida has the “Implied Consent Law“. When you sign your drivers license you have agreed to take these tests upon request. Refusal to take any of the tests will result in an immediate suspension for one year. A second refusal will result in an 18 month suspension.

Florida DUI Stats

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles issued Traffic Crash Statistics Report 2010. According to the Compilation of Motor Vehicle Crash Data From the Florida Crash Records Database, the following alcohol-related crash statistics are true for 2009 and 2010.

DUI Attorney Tampa

Crash Statistics 2009 2010 %increase/decrease
Alcohol-related fatalities* 1004 794 -20.92%
Pending Fatal Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) 97 216 122.68%
Alcohol-related injuries 14,130 12,168 -13.89%
Alcohol-related crashes 20,085 17,748 -11.64%
Alcohol-related fatal crashes 921 746 -19%
Alcohol-related injury crashes 8994 7825 -13%
  • After Miami-Dade(1588)  and Broward Counties(1424), Hillsborough County had the third highest (1363) incidence of alcohol related crashes in 2010.
  • In 2010, Hillsborough County had 54 alcohol-related fatality crashes, 2nd to Orange County with 62 alcohol-related fatalities.


Ignition Interlock

Florida law mandates that any driver convicted of a second DUI have an Ignition Interlock device installed in their vehicle. A judge may order an Interlock installed on first convictions depending on circumstances. Read the details of the Florida Ignition Interlock program.

No one can drink alcohol and still drive safely. Drinking and driving causes accidents and deaths every day and therefore the penalties in Florida are very tough. If you drink and drive the result may be jail time, loss of your Florida drivers license, heavy fines, and much higher auto insurance rates. And a conviction will stay on your Florida driving record for 75 years.

Zero Tolerance for Drivers under 21

Florida has a Zero Tolerance law for drivers under 21. This means that any driver under 21 that is stopped by law enforcement and has a blood alcohol level of .02 or higher will automatically have their Florida drivers license suspended for 6 months. The .02 limit really means that you cannot have a single drink and drive. And that’s the idea.

For drivers over 21 the legal limit in Florida is .08. Regardless of your age be aware that drinking and driving is considered a serious offense. Below we have summarized the penalties in the state of Florida for a first offense DUI, but the average cost including legal defense, fines, and auto insurance increases is $8000.

Florida Penalties for DUI First Conviction

  • Fine – $250 to $500
  • Community Service – 50 Hours
  • Probation – Not more than 1 Year
  • Imprisonment – Not more than 6 Months
  • Imprisonment with BAL of .08 or higher with a minor in the vehicle, not more than 9 months
  • License Revocation – Minimum of 180 days
  • DUI School – 12 Hours


Addtional DUI Convictions

The penalties listed above are for a first DUI conviction. With each additional DUI conviction the penalties in Florida are more severe. Complete details on Florida DUI penalties can be found in the Florida drivers manual.



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