originally by: American Civil Liberties Union
published: 31 December 2013
The start of a new year always presents an opportunity to think back on the successes and failures of the past year and to look forward to the future with a sense of hope and optimism.
Before the countdown begins to 2014, let’s take a moment to reflect on the progress we’ve made towards abolition of the death penalty in 2013. We’ve got a lot to celebrate.
As we’ve seen in recent years, the decline in new death sentences and executions continued this year. The number of executions in 2013 declined by almost 10% from those in 2012, from 43 to 39. It was only the second time in 19 years that the number of executions dropped below 40.
Only nine states carried out executions in 2013, and the great majority of them took place in only two states: Florida and Texas.
While Texas remained a leader in executions among death penalty states, new death sentences in the state continued to decline. Dallas County, unfortunately, has emerged as the state’s new leader in meting out the death penalty, responsible for more than 20% of all new death sentences since 2008.