According to the New York Times of 14 October, a recent Gallup Poll shows: 'support for the death penalty is at its lowest level since 1972. In fact, though, the decline, from a high of 80 percent in 1994 to 61 percent now, masks both Americans’ ambivalence about capital punishment and the country’s de facto abolition of the penalty in most places'.
The poll is one further indication of the decline in American support for capital punishment. Other evidence is in the gradual removal of the death penalty from state legislation, the growing reluctance of juries to recommend capital sentences, and the increased hesitation of prosecutors to ask for the death penalty.
Right now, all that is needed is the right case, good facts, and an open door at the Supreme Court. In 2005, the Supreme Court declared the juvenile death penalty to be unconstitutional. The arguments that it relied upon work just as well for the death penalty as a whole. It won't be around much longer.
The interesting question is which country will get there first: the United States or China?
Thanks to Bill Hartzog.