After a lull in executions, it seems that the nation could return to 50 executions annually, with 2,800 on death row and the prospect of California’s re-starting executions.
Florida and Texas both executed murderers on the same night this week. Ohio State University law Prof. Douglas Berman says on his Sentencing Law and Policy blog that it was apparently the first time since January 2015 in which two different states carried out executions on the same day. (Arkansas in April carried out two executions in one state in one day.) Berman believes the development is more evidence that the results of the 2016 election cycle — especially the vote in support of improving the operation of the death penalty in California and the election of Donald Trump — may have significantly turned around the declining fortunes of the death penalty in the U.S.
Berman doubts that the nation will return to the 1990s levels of death sentences and executions absent a huge spike in homicides. He notes that there remain more than 2,800 condemned persons on death rows, “and it seems quite possible we could before long start seeing 50 or more executions per year again (which was, roughly speaking, the average during the administrations of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush).”