The other state that stands out is Florida, which is pursuing the death penalty with an enthusiasm shown by few other parts of the country.
It came in second in the list of executions, having killed seven of its inmates this year. It has also declared its intention to execute more people more quickly, with the passage of the Timely Justice Act that speeds up the execution process.
Public opinion also continues to shift as the extreme costs of executions, as well as concern about innocent lives being taken, wears away at popular approval.
In Gallup’s annual poll, support for the death penalty fell to 60 percent — the lowest level for more than 40 years.
Prominent Americans added their voices to the call for abolition this year. Mary Kate Cary, former speechwriter for former US president George H.W. Bush wrote that:
“Times have changed, and it’s time for conservatives to get on the right side of the death penalty argument. One can oppose the death penalty and still be in favor of a tough, affordable, accurate and fair criminal justice system.”
In November, former US president Jimmy Carter told the Guardian that he wanted to see a new nationwide moratorium on the death penalty, on grounds that it was applied so unfairly.