That's the original title of Julie Delcour's editorial column in the Tulsa World, "Death penalty not living up to expectations."
Here's where capital punishment stands in America: 33 states and the federal government authorize it. Gallup and Pew Research Center polls show public support at above 60 percent. So reports that the death penalty is on its death bed are exaggerated, or are they?
Since 2005, five states have abolished the death penalty and California came close to doing so in November, Proposition 34 losing by four percentage points. Nearly 35 years ago, a law reinstating the death penalty there passed by 82 percent. In the years since, the death penalty has cost the state about $4 billion and California has not carried out a single execution in seven years and only 13 since the law went into effect.
Last fall, for the first time in its 155-year history, the Sacramento Bee opposed the death penalty editorially, calling it "an illusion," and saying:
"We need to end the fiction - the sooner the better. The state's death penalty is an outdated, flawed and expensive system of punishment that needs to be replaced with a rock-solid sentence of life imprisonment with no chance of parole."
More evidence that a gradual retreat from the death penalty is under way can be found in the number of new inmates added to state death rows. In 2000, 224 defendants received a death sentence compared with 77 in 2012, the second lowest since the death penalty was reinstituted in 1976.
But not in Oklahoma, which, with 102 executions since 1976, has the highest number of executions per capita in the nation, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Death Penalty Information Center. Texas leads the nation in executions with 493, trailed by Virginia, 109, and then Oklahoma.