In Missouri, AP reports, "Executions down in US, but on rise in Missouri." It's via the Tribune.
Use of the death penalty declined nationally in 2013, but the punishment has seen a resurgence in Missouri.
The Death Penalty Information Center on Thursday released a report showing that 39 people were executed in the U.S. in 2013, just the second time in 19 years that fewer than 40 were put to death.
Missouri has executed two men in the past month — Joseph Paul Franklin on Nov. 29 and Allen Nicklasson on Dec. 11. The executions were the first in Missouri since 2011, and the most in a single year since five in 2005.
"Report: Grim future for U.S. death penalty," is by Kevin O'Hanlon of the Lincoln Journal Star, in Nebraska.
Nebraska's supply of a key lethal injection drug is set to expire, effectively leaving the state without a method to carry out the death penalty.
Meanwhile, a report released Thursday by the Death Penalty Information Center painted a grim future for the death penalty in general.
North Carolina Public News Service posts, "Executions Decline in NC and Nation," by Stephanie Carroll Carson.
This holiday, 151 inmates are sitting on North Carolina's death row.
In 2013, only one new person joined them, and no one has been executed in the state in seven years.
That trend matches what's being seen nationally, according to a new report from the Death Penalty Information Center.
Gretchen Engel, executive director of the Center for Death Penalty Litigation in Durham, says the state and national figures are proof of public sentiment.
"That's the public talking,” she says. “That's jurors who are very aware of the seriousness of the crime, they've listened to the evidence. But at the end of the day, they say, 'Life without parole is sufficient.'"
"Executions in U.S. drop to 39 in ’13, report says," is by Alan Johnson in the Columbus Dispatch.
Ohio had three executions in 2013, ranking the state behind Texas (16), Florida (seven) and Oklahoma (six). Ohio also conducted three executions in 2012. The number of executions peaked nationally at 98 in 1999.
The Death Penalty Information Center, a Washington, D.C., nonpartisan clearinghouse for capital-punishment information, said that this year is only the second time in two decades that fewer than 40 people were put to death. There were 43 executions in 2012.
At the same time, the number of prisoners under a death sentence shrank by 9.3 percent, to 3,108. Ohio has 147 people on Death Row.
The Dallas Observer posts, "Dallas County is Now the Death Penalty Capital of Texas," by Eric Nicholson.
Even after a wave of exonerations confirmed the fallibility of the criminal justice system, even after the state's supply of lethal-injection drugs has been all but cut off by squeamish pharmaceutical companies, even as national support for capital punishment steadily declines, Texas remains enamored with the death penalty. In 2013, it executed 16 inmates, far fewer than at its turn-of-the-millennium peak but still more than twice as many as any other state, according to a report released Wednesday by the Death Penalty Information Center.
Historically, Harris County has given the fullest expression to Texas' lust for capital punishment, with a U.S.-leading 116 executions since capital punishment was reinstated in 1976. But in recent years Dallas has supplanted Houston as the death penalty capital of Texas.
"Texas, Harris County Still No. 1 in Executions, but Numbers Down Sharply Nationwide," by Jeff Balke for the Houston Press.
According to a report from the Death Penalty Information Center, there have been only 39 executions in the United States this year, only the second time that number has been below 40 since 1994 and down 4 from last year's 43. This is additionally a decline of 60 percent since 1999 and the number of death sentences given hovered at a number (80) that, other than last year's 77, is the lowest since 1973. In fact, the number of death sentences has declined 75 percent since 1996.
Not surprisingly, Texas led states in the number of executions, representing more than 40 percent (16 total) of the executions nationwide. Combined with Florida, the two states are responsible for the majority of executions (59 percent). Florida had 7 total. There are 18 states who have abolished the use of the death penalty as a punishment.
The Washington Times reports, "Virginia leads national trend in decline of death penalty," by Andrea Noble.
Once entrenched as second only to Texas in its use of the death penalty, Virginia has dramatically scaled back the number of executions it has performed in recent years — a trend that seems unlikely to change amid a national downturn in the use of capital punishment.
Virginia carried out the death penalty in just one case this year, after no one was put to death last year.
The Death Penalty Information Center's The Death Penalty in 2013: Year End Report is available at the link. You can also find a news release, infographic, and a video at the link.
National coverage of the report is at the link.