Since 1976, more than 1200 Americans have been sentenced for death.
Even though death sentences are often converted to life sentences, Americans still support capital punishment. Yes, there are Americans who strongly oppose the death penalty and call for its elimination from American law. Their protests have not changed anything and it is unlikely they will in future.
Every state has its own punishments
The United States considers justice largely a domestic matter within each state. 32 of these states apply the death penalty while the rest have either abolished capital punishment altogether or placed it under a moratorium. The death sentences in America were very different last year.
One, the Supreme Court of Justice in Washington affirmed once again that capital punishment is compatible the Constitution. However, 5 years ago, the Court also prohibited capital punishment in the cases of minors and the mentally ill.
Oliver Hendrich, Amnesty International, believes that the 2005 Supreme Court decision on the death penalty in America is a significant signal.
“It’s true that the Supreme Court doesn’t consider capital punishment to be in violation of the fundamental law. It is important to note that it does not apply to minors. The representative from Amnesty International says that the Supreme Court has finally complied with international pressure and recognized the fundamental principles of international legal law for the first time.
Popular support, in decline
However, the death penalty is not as popular among Americans today as it was 20 years ago. More than 80 percent of Americans supported the death penalty in the mid-1990s. However, Gallup polls last year found that only three quarters of Americans support the death penalty.
This change in optics can be explained fairly easily. An alternative to death penalty was also added to the question. In fact, Americans are becoming more open to the possibility of converting the death penalty into life imprisonment.
Except for a few states in the USA, death penalties are still used in certain circumstances, particularly when there is a serious crime against the state. Capital punishment is not contested in such situations. Terror suspects are those accused of plotting the September 11, 2001 attacks. This is even less true in the case of terrorist suspects. American Minister of Justice already stated that he hopes the death penalty will be applied in their case.