Why Has The Death Penalty Grown Increasingly Rare?

, , , Even though polls show that 60 % of the public still supports the death penalty, and even though the Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld it as constitutional, the number of executions this year so far is almost the same as the number of fatalities from lightning strikes – 27 executions versus 26 deaths by lightning.

It’s an ironic statistic. When the Supreme Court briefly banned the death penalty in 1972, it did so, in part, because, as Justice Potter Stewart put it, capital punishment was being imposed so randomly and “freakishly” that it was like being “struck by lightning.”

Please read Nina Totenberg’s article at NPR/South Carolina Public Radio