Death Penalty

Only 7 states imposed new death sentences in 2023; 1 of them has passed new laws likely to expand number

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According to a report by the Death Penalty Information Center, 21 people were sentenced to death in 2023. The sentences were imposed in seven states. Image from Shutterstock.

Texas and Florida accounted for more than half of the executions this year, with Florida putting six inmates to death and Texas executing eight, according to a report by the Death Penalty Information Center.

Only three other states conducted executions in 2023: Alabama (two), Missouri (four) and Oklahoma (four), according to a Dec. 1 press release.

The last time that so few states conducted executions was in 2016 and 20 years ago, according to The Death Penalty in 2023: Year End Report.

Twenty-one people were sentenced to death in 2023. The sentences were imposed in seven states: Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Louisiana, North Carolina and Texas.

The figures are current as of Dec. 1. This year was the ninth year in a row with less than 30 executions and les than 50 death sentences.

The 24 executions conducted in 2023 are more than the 18 conducted in 2022, however. The press release said the year-over-year increase can be attributed to Florida’s resumption of executions following “a lengthy pause.”

Florida’s six executions were the state’s highest number since 2014, and it imposed five new death sentences, the highest number of any state this year.

And Florida is likely to impose more death sentences following its passage of two laws in April. One law ended the requirement for a unanimous jury recommendation to impose the death penalty. Now, only eight people have to agree.

The other law authorizes the death penalty for sexual battery of a child younger than age 12. The law “directly flouted” a 2008 U.S. Supreme Court decision that held that the death penalty for child rape is unconstitutional in cases that don’t result in death, the report said.

Twenty-nine states, on the other hand, have abolished the death penalty or have paused executions by executive action.

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