Death Penalty


First death penalty execution in Jamestown, VA for treason


Abolitionist movement begins

1750 - 1800

Rhode Island is the first state to outlaw the death penalty for all crimes


14th Amendment is ratified and later used to challenge the death penalty

July 9, 1868

U.S. Congress passed a bill reducing the number of federal death crimes


Six states completely outlawed the death penalty and three limit reduce it.

1907 - 1917

Weems v. United States establishes precedents on "cruel and unusual punishment"

May 2, 1910

Supreme Court finds second execution attempt after technical malfunction does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment

January 13, 1947

United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights


Trop v. Dulles (356 U.S. 86), referred to 8th amendment and level of decency


Coker v. Georgia (433 U.S. 584) limits to the death penalty followed (like mentally ill)


Eleven people sentenced to death by the federal government for criminal conduct occurring in non-death penalty states

2002 - 2017