The Exonerated Historical Context

Jessica Blank
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Historically, application of the death penalty has waxed and waned in the United States. In the 1930s, there was an average of one hundred and sixty-seven executions a year. But by the 1960s, opinion worldwide had shifted in favor of the abolition of capital punishment. In the period from 1960 to 1976, the number of executions in the United States fell to an average of between twelve and thirteen per year. In 1972, the Supreme Court ruled that death penalty statutes in forty states were unconstitutional. The Court also commuted the sentence of six hundred and twenty-nine prisoners on death row. However, Florida, Georgia, and Texas, states in which the death penalty had been firmly entrenched, rewrote their laws, and in 1976, the Supreme Court upheld them. The Court also declared that capital punishment was not in itself unconstitutional. This set the stage for the...

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This section contains 856 words
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