NGO report

Too Broken to Fix: Part I – An In-depth Look at America’s Outlier Death Penalty Counties

By Fair Punishment Project, on 8 September 2020

The trends are clear. In 2015, juries returned the fewest number of new death sentences—49—since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976.Of the 3,143 county or county equivalents in the United States, only 16—or one half of one percent—imposed five or more death sentences between 2010 and 2015.This report takes a close look at how capital punishment operates on the ground in half of these active death-sentencing counties. In this first report, we dig deep into Caddo, Clark, Duval, Harris, Maricopa, Mobile, Kern, and Riverside counties. Our review reveals that these counties frequently share at least three systemic deficiencies: a history of overzealous prosecutions, inadequate defense lawyering, and a pattern of racial bias and exclusion. These structural failings regularly produce two types of unjust outcomes which disproportionately impact people of color: the wrongful conviction of innocent people, and the excessive punishment of persons who are young or suffer from severe mental illnesses, brain damage, trauma, and intellectual disabilities.

  • Document type NGO report
  • Countries list United States
  • Themes list Trend Towards Abolition, Country/Regional profiles,