During this year, in an unprecedented glut of judicial killing, the Trump Administration rushed to put 10 prisoners to death. The execution spree ran roughshod over historical norms and stood entirely contrary to the decline in the use of the death penalty that has been the trend in the US for several years.
The Trump administration’s thirst for blood is set out in the year end report of the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC). In recent years, the annual review has highlighted the steady withering away of executions, all of which were carried out by individual states.
That pattern continued at state level in 2020, heightened by the coronavirus pandemic which suppressed an already low number of scheduled executions. Only five states – Alabama, Georgia, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas – carried out judicial killings. And only Texas performed more than one, producing the lowest number of executions by the states since 1983.
States carried out seven executions to the federal government’s 10. Despite the rash of federal killings, that still amounted to the fewest executions in the US since 1991.
Against that downward path, the actions of the Trump administration stand out as a grotesque aberration.