A blog produced by the Oregon Justice Resource Center discussing the death penalty (capital punishment) in Oregon and in the Ninth Circuit.
We are only one month and a few days into 2012 and already a lot has happened on death rows across the United States. While executions, stays, and commutations are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the machinery of death, here is an overview of what has happened so far in 2012 that shows that the machinery is anything but well oiled…
Two executions have took place in the United States in January, both by 3-drug lethal injection. On January 5, Gary Welch was killed in Oklahoma for his part in the 1994 murder of Robert Hardcastle. Welch was 49. On January 26, 39 year old Rodrigo Hernandez was executed in Texas for the 1994 murder of Susan Verstegen in San Antonio. 1279 people have been killed at the hands of state and federal governments in the United States since 1978. Texas has executed 478 (the most of any state) and Oklahoma has killed 97 (third most).
As of February 1, six death row inmates have had their scheduled executions stayed in five different states. Notably on January 31, Nicholas Tate signed his petition for habeas corpus just hours before his scheduled execution in Georgia. Tate had previously declined all opportunities to appeal his conviction and death sentence.
On January 20, Delaware Governor Jack Markell accepted the 4-1 recommendation of the Delaware Board of Pardons to commute the death sentence of Robert Gattis. Citing the abuse, neglect, and dysfunction of Gattis’ childhood, Markell spared his life on the condition that he spend the rest of his life in maximum security prison and waive all future appeals.
In legislative news, several death penalty bills are making their way through state houses around the country. Repeal efforts are taking place or are likely to take place in CA, CT, FL, GA, KS, MD, NE, and WA. In New Mexico, a constitutional amendment has been proposed that would restore the death penalty. DP9 will be monitoring these efforts and will continue with monthly updates on the state of the death penalty in the U.S.