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An Ohio Supreme Court task force has given legislators 56 recommendations on how to improve administration of the death penalty. The comprehensive list of proposed changes covers nearly all aspects of the death penalty — from tighter controls on how evidence is collected and interrogations are conducted, to more funding for defense services, to new rules for post-...

Are you a state legislator from Florida, Kentucky, Virginia, Alabama, Arizona, Delaware, Kansas, North Carolina, and Washington?  If so, keep reading.  Your legislature may need to rewrite its definition of intellectual disability as it applies to the death penalty. 

In Hall v. Florida the Supreme Court held 5-4 that if a capital defendant’s IQ falls within the standard error measurement (SEM) for intellectually disabled, the defendant must be allowed to present additional evidence of intellectual disability.  Hall may require the above 9 states to rewrite their death penalty statutes because they have strict IQ cutoff scores of 70.

Today the Maryland House voted 82-56 to repeal the state's death penalty.  The measure, which is a top priority of Governor Martin O'Malley, was approved by the Senate last week. 

Supporters of the death penalty are expected to petition the bill to a referendum in the 2014 election.  Polls show that the death penalty is currently supported by a small majority of voters in the state. 

There are five men on death row in Maryland, and the legislation does not affect...

California voters sent mixed messages on two ballot measures related to criminal justice, passing a measure that modifies the state's harsh three-strikes law, while rejecting a measure to eliminate the state's seldom-used death penalty.

Next week, Californians will have the opportunity to revisit two major criminal justice issues previously enacted by ballot initiative: the death penalty and the three-strikes sentencing law. 

Proposition 36 will provide residents with an opportunity to modify the state's 18-year-old "three-strikes" law, which allows judges to impose a sentence of 25-years-to-life for offenders who commit a third felony, no matter how minor, if they have two...

Chapter 9 of the 2011 Book of the States contains the following articles and tables:

Book of the States 2011

Chapter 9: Selected State Policies and Programs

Articles:

  1. An Impossible Choice: Reconciling State Budget Cuts and Disasters that Demand Adequate Management
  2. ...

Last month, Illinois became the 16th state to abolish the death penalty when Gov. Pat Quinn signed a bill passed by the legislature in January. A moratorium on executions had been in place since 2000, when Gov. George Ryan cleared Death Row amid concerns about wrongful convictions in the justice system, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Texas has 317 inmates on death row, but only enough of a key lethal injection drug to execute two of them. Ohio has just one dose of the drug left.  A nationwide shortage of sodium thiopental, an anesthetic that is part of the three-drug cocktail used in lethal injections, has thrown capital punishment in the United States into disarray, delaying executions and forcing the change of execution protocols in several states.

The growing number of death row inmates exonerated is prompting several states to reconsider capital punishment.New Jersey has abolished the death penalty completely. Commissions in other states have stopped short of recommending the death penalty be abolished and instead recommended a series of actions to prevent the possible conviction and execution of innocent people.