Death Penalty Fast Facts

Getty Images

(CNN)Here's a look at the death penalty in the United States.


As of June 11, 2020, capital punishment is legal in 28 US states.
    According to the Criminal Justice Project of the NAACP, there are 2,620 people on death row in the United States as of January 1, 2020.
    Since 1976, when the death penalty was reinstated by the US Supreme Court, 1,513 people have been executed (as July 2020).
    Since 1973, there have been 170 death row exonerations (as of July 2020). Twenty-nine of them are from the state of Florida.

    Federal Government

    The US government and US military have 61 people awaiting execution as of July 2020.
    The US government has executed four people since 1988 when the federal death penalty statute was reinstated. The first federal execution since 2003 took place in July 2020.


    According to the Criminal Justice Project of the NAACP, there are 53 women on death row in the United States as of January 1, 2020.
    As of January 1, 2020, 16 women have been executed since the reinstatement of the death penalty.


    Twenty-two individuals were executed between 1976 and 2005 for crimes committed as juveniles.
    March 1, 2005 - Roper v. Simmons. The Supreme Court rules that the execution of juvenile offenders is unconstitutional.


    For federal death row inmates, the president alone has the power to grant a pardon.


    1834 - Pennsylvania becomes the first state to move executions into correctional facilities, ending public executions.
    1846 - Michigan becomes the first state to abolish the death penalty for all crimes except treason.
    1890 - William Kemmler becomes the first person executed by electrocution.
    1907-1917 - Nine states abolish the death penalty for all crimes or strictly limit it. By 1920, five of those states had reinstated it.
    1924 - The use of cyanide gas is introduced as an execution method.
    June 29, 1972 - Furman v. Georgia. The Supreme Court effectively voids 40 death penalty statutes and suspends the death penalty.
    1976 - Gregg v. Georgia. The death penalty is reinstated.
    January 17, 1977 - A 10-year moratorium on the death penalty ends with the execution of Gary Gilmore by firing squad in Utah.
    1977 - Oklahoma becomes the first state to adopt lethal injection as a means of execution.
    December 7, 1982 - Charles Brooks becomes the first person executed by lethal injection.
    1984 - Velma Barfield of North Carolina becomes the first woman executed since reinstatement of the death penalty.
    1986 - Ford v. Wainwright. Execution of insane persons is banned.
    1987 - McCleskey v. Kemp. Racial disparities are not recognized as a constitutional violation of "equal protection of the law" unless intentional racial discrimination against the defendant can be shown.
    1988 - Thompson v. Oklahoma. Executions of offenders age 15 and younger at the time of their crimes are declared unconstitutional.
    1996 - The last execution by hanging takes place in Delaware, with the death of Billy Bailey.
    January 31, 2000 - A moratorium on executions is declared by Illinois Governor George Ryan. Since 1976, Illinois is the first state to block executions.
    2002 - Atkins v. Virginia. The Supreme Court rules that the execution of mentally retarded defendants violates the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
    January 2003 - Before leaving office, Governor Ryan grants clemency to all the remaining 167 inmates on Illinois's death row, due to the flawed process that led to the death sentences.
    June 12, 2006 - The Supreme Court rules that death row inmates can challenge the use of lethal injection as a method of execution.
    December 17, 2007 - New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine signs legislation abolishing the death penalty in the state. The death sentences of eight men are commuted to sentences of life without parole.
    April 16, 2008 - In a 7-2 ruling, the US Supreme Court upholds use of lethal injection. Between September 2007, when the Court took on the case, and April 2008, no one was executed in the United States due to the de facto moratorium the Court placed on executions while it heard arguments in Baze v. Rees.
    March 18, 2009 - Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico signs legislation repealing the death penalty in his state. His actions will not affect two prisoners currently on death row: Robert Fry, who killed a woman in 2000, and Tim Allen, who killed a 17-year-old girl in 1994.
    November 13, 2009 - Ohio becomes the first state to switch to a method of lethal injection using a single drug, rather than the three-drug method used by other states.
    March 9, 2011 - Illinois Governor Pat Quinn announces that he has signed legislation eliminating the death penalty in his state, more than 10 years after the state halted executions.
    March 16, 2011 - The Drug Enforcement Agency seizes Georgia's supply of thiopental, over questions of where the state obtained the drug. US manufacturer Hospira stopped producing the drug in 2009. The countries that still produce the drug do not allow it to be exported to the United States for use in lethal injections.
    May 20, 2011 - The Georgia Department of Corrections announces that pentobarbital will be substituted for thiopental in the three-drug lethal injection process.
    July 1, 2011 - Lundbeck Inc., the company that makes pentobarbital (brand name Nembutal), announces it will restrict the use of its product from prisons carrying out capital punishment.
    November 22, 2011 - Governor John Kitzhaber of Oregon places a moratorium on all state executions for the remainder of his term in office.
    April 25, 2012 - Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy signs S.B. 280, An Act Revising the Penalty for Capital Felonies, into law. The law goes into effect immediately and replaces the death penalty with life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. The law is not retroactive to those already on death row.
    May 2, 2013 - Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley signs a bill repealing the death penalty. The law goes into effect October 1.
    January 16, 2014 - Ohio executes inmate Dennis McGuire with a new combination of drugs, due to the unavailability of drugs such as pentobarbital. The state uses a combination of the drugs midazolam and hydromorphone, according to the state corrections department. The execution process takes 24 minutes, and McGuire appears to be gasping for air for 10 to 13 minutes, according to witness Alan Johnson, a reporter with the Columbus Dispatch. In May 2014, an Ohio judge issues an order suspending executions in the state so that authorities can f