Executions in US in 2016 hit 25-year low

Georgia led the nation in executions this year, as the number of death sentences carried out in the United States fell to a 25-year low, according to capital punishment researchers.

States executed 20 inmates this year, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. That’s eight fewer than last year’s total and a fraction of the modern record of 98 set in 1999.

For the first time since capital punishment was reinstated in 1976, Georgia carried out the most executions. It executed nine inmates, two more than  Texas, which usually leads the nation.

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In 2016, for the first time in four decades, no state imposed 10 or more death sentences, according to the center.

Five states put to death inmates this year, with Texas and Georgia together accounting for 80% of executions in 2016. Not since 1983 have so few states carried out at least one death sentence. Since 2015, 85% of executions have taken place in three states: Texas, Georgia and Missouri.

The decline in Texas — seven compared to 13 was mainly the result of Texas appeals judges granting more stays of executions due to prisoner claims related to faulty forensic science and prosecutorial misconduct and other issues. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has granted 15 stays since 2015, compared to the three it granted between 2012 and 2014.

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