Saturday, July 2, 2022


The U.S. Supreme Court strips the EPA's power to curb pollution, California takes a big step toward universal health care, and a Florida judge will temporarily block the state's 15-week abortion ban.


SCOTUS significantly limits the Clean Air Act and rules against the "Stay in Mexico" policy, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is sworn in to office, and President Biden endorses a filibuster carveout for abortion rights.


From flying saucers to bologna: America's summer festivals kick off, rural hospitals warn they do not have the necessities to respond in the post-Roe scramble, advocates work to counter voter suppression, and campaigns encourage midterm voting in Indian Country.

Death Penalty Support, Use Erodes in Virginia and U.S.


Monday, November 2, 2015   

RICHMOND, Va. – The death penalty is in a long, slow decline in Virginia and nationally, according to opinion polls and how often it's being used.

Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, says surveys show support for the death sentence is at a 40-year low, and last year saw the lowest number of executions in two decades.

Dunham says people are seeing practical problems with putting people to death, including the costs and botched executions. There also has been what he calls an innocence revolution – a wave of death row inmates later proven not guilty.

"DNA has shown people have gone to death row who clearly didn't commit the offense,” Dunham points out. “Innocent people are being convicted. There are false confessions. There are fabricated confessions. That's causing people concern."

Death penalty supporters argue harsh justice is a deterrent to crime.

Although Virginia executed Alfredo Prieto a month ago, the number of executions in the state has fallen sharply. Dunham says Virginia used to have one of the highest execution rates, until a court decision that changed jury instructions reduced the number of death sentences by three-quarters.

Dunham explains there used to be the misconception that if a capital convict was not executed, he or she could eventually be released on parole.

But he says court rules were changed so that juries would be informed that a life sentence would really mean life behind bars.

"Immediately when the juries were told that their sentencing option was life without possibility of parole and death, as opposed to just life or death, the rate of death sentencing dropped dramatically," he explains.

One Virginia death row inmate was exonerated and then pardoned in 2000. The state has also had complex problems getting the drugs used for lethal injections.

Dunham says FBI figures, confirmed by several studies, show the death penalty doesn't deter crime in any measurable way.

"There actually is no demonstrable effect at all,” he stresses. “In fact, murder rates are higher in states that have the death penalty than in states that don't have the death penalty."

get more stories like this via email

While most classrooms are empty right now, lingering concerns from the previous school year, such as the pandemic's effect on students and staff, are being dissected ahead of next year. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Research is emerging about the secondary trauma school staff members face after helping students during the pandemic. As summer moves forward…

Health and Wellness

A Florida judge plans to put a hold on the state's new, 15-week abortion ban, set to take effect today. He said it is unconstitutional and will issue …


The Environmental Protection Agency now has fewer tools to fight climate change, after the U.S. Supreme Court stripped the agency of its authority to …

The only memorial to Anne Frank is located in Boise. (Kencf0618/Wikimedia Commons)

Social Issues

Three projects in Idaho have been selected to receive grants from the AARP Community Challenge. Among them is the Anne Frank Human Rights Memorial in …


Montanans get a sense of what soil health is like on farms and ranches across the state with Northern Plains Resource Council's soil crawls. The …

Medicare fraud costs taxpayers an estimated $60 billion each year. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

A new tool aims to help older adults in Arkansas and beyond who receive Medicare track what happens at their doctor appointments. It also can help …

Social Issues

A campaign in Maine is gathering signatures to replace the state's investor-owned energy grid with a consumer-owned utility. Central Maine Power (…

Social Issues

By Sarah Melotte for The Daily Yonder.Broadcast version by Eric Galatas for Colorado News Connection for the Public News Service/Daily Yonder Collabor…


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021