1608 Captain George Kendall becomes the first recorded execution in the new colonies 1632 Jane Champion is the first woman executed
1767 Cesare Beccaria’s essay On Crime and Punishment, theorizes that there is no justification for the state to take a life Late 1700’s United States abolitionist movement begins
Early 1800’s many states reduce their number of capital punishment crimes & build state penitentiaries 1834 Pennsylvania becomes the first state to move executions into correctional facilities 1846 Michigan becomes the first state to abolish the death penalty for all crimes except treason 1890 William Kemler becomes the first person executed by electrocution Early 1900’s beginning of the Progressive Period of reform in the United States 1907-1917 Nine states abolish the death penalty for all crimes or strictly limit it 1920s-1940s American Abolition movement loses support
1924 The use of cyanide gas introduced as an execution method 1930s Executions reach the highest levels in American History- Average 167 per year 1966 Support of capital punishment reaches an all-time low A Gallup poll shows support of the death penalty at only 42% June 1972 Furman v. Georgia. Supreme Court effectively voids 40 death penalty statuses and suspends the death penalty 1976- Gregg V. Georgia Guided discretion statutes approved. Death Penalty reinstated January 17,1977 ten year moratorium on execution ends with the execution of Gary Gilmore by firing squad in Utah 1977 Oklahoma becomes the first state to adopt lethal injection as a means of execution 1977 Coker V Georgia held death penalty is an unconstitutional punishment for rape of an adult woman when the victim is not killed December 7 1982 Charles brooks becomes the first person executed by lethal injection 1986 Ford V Wainwright Execution of insane persons banned
1988 Thompson V Oklahoma Executions of offenders age 15 & younger at the time of the crime is unconstitutional 1989 Stanford v Kentucky & Wilkins v Missouri 8th amendment doesn’t prohibit the death penalty for crimes committed at age 16 or 17 1989 Penry v Lynaugh executing persons with “mental retardation” is not a violation of the 8th amendment 1994 President Clinton signs the Violent Crime Control & Law enforcement act expanding the federal death penalty November 1998 Northwest University Holds the first ever National Conference on Wrongful Convictions & the death penalty January 1999 Pope John Paul II visits St. Louis, Missouri & calls for an end to the death penalty 2002 Atkins v Virginia The execution of “mentally retarded” defendants violates the 8th amendments ban on cruel & unusual punishment June 2004 New York’s death penalty law declared unconstitutional by the states high court March 2005 Roper v Simmons, Supreme court ruled death penalty of those under 18 years of age is cruel & unusual December 2007 The New Jersey General Assembly votes to become the first state to legislatively abolish capital punishment since its reinstatement February 2008 The Nebraska Supreme Court rules electrocution to be cruel & unusual, freezing all executions in the state March 2009 Governor Bill Richardson signs legislation to repeal the death penalty in New Mexico March 2011 Governor Pat Quinn signs legislation to repeal the death penalty in Illinois, replacing it with life without parole
-Finds its roots in the writings of European theorists Montesquieu Voltaire & Bentham along with English Quakers John Bellars & John Howard -It was Cesare Baccaria’s essay on crimes and punishment that had the most impact -gave abolitionist’s an authoritative voice and renewed energy -From 1907- 1917 6 states completely outlawed the death penalty & three others limited it -5 of 6 states reinstated their death penalties by 1920
-1920’s-1940’s had resurgence in the use of the death penalty -There were more executions in the 1930’s than during any other...