Center for Public Research and Leadership
Americans seem to be of two minds about the death penalty. In the last several years, the overall number of executions has risen steeply, reaching a fifty year high this year. Although two-thirds of the public support the penalty, this figure represents a sharp decline from the four-fifths of the population that endorsed the death penalty only six years ago, leaving support for capital punishment at a twenty year low. When life without parole is offered as an alternative, support for the penalty drops even more – often below a majority. Grants of executive clemency reached a twenty year high in 1999.
James S. Liebman, Jeffery Fagan, Valerie West & Jonathan Lloyd,
Capital Attrition: Error Rates in Capital Cases, 1973-1995,
Tex. L. Rev.
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