Executions in the US have reached a 20 year low in 2014. Botched procedures leading to a horde of legal challenges coupled by a shortage of lethal injections have caused this fall in number of executions. In 2013, thirty five executions were conducted, the lowest number since 1994. The highest execution in any year was 98 which happened in 1999 as per data supplied by Death Penalty Information Center, which opposes capital punishment.
The Oklahoma’s messed up execution of Clayton Lockett in April and the protracted lethal injection of Dennis McGuire in Ohio in January brought into sharp focus the procedures adopted by a number of states after many manufacturers stopped selling products used for execution. The situation has been further compounded by the lawsuits from other inmates.
In the executions Oklahoma and Ohio bungled execution was caused when lethal injections included new drug combination which took longer to kill than expected. Witness in both the execution testified that the convict who was being executed, appeared to be in pain. Lockett had lifted his head 13 minutes after he was injected with the lethal injection. This prompted the doctor to stop the procedure but Lockett died a few minutes later.
Out of 32 states only 7 states executed inmates who have been sentenced to death in 2014. A majority of the execution came from three states –Florida, Texas, and Missouri as per the report by Death Penalty Information Center. According to the Director of Death Penalty Information Center, Richard Dieter, evidence is pointing out that death penalty is becoming irrelevant in serving as a deterrent.
However there are no dearths of detractors who are convinced of the effectiveness of death penalty as a deterrent. The President of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation which supports capital punishment said that there- is no evidence that juries are less likely to issue the death sentence for crimes or that there is opposition to death penalty in the public. The lower execution could be due to lower crime rate.