Monday, July 14, 2008

Capital Punishment Quiz

1. Approximately how many homicides are committed in the United States annually? (Info from 1995)

60,000         50,000         22,000         3,000

2. In what percentage of homicides is the death penalty sought?

1%         50%         25%         10%

3. Who makes the decision of whether or not to seek the death penalty?

The judge

The grand jury

The district attorney

The death penalty must be sought depending on the nature of the crime.

4. About half of all murder victims are white. What percentage of victims are white in death penalty cases?

80%         74%         50%         30%

5. According to the 1992 study by Radelet & Bedau, in how many cases since 1900 have innocent persons been executed?

None         23         59         300

6. How much does it cost to keep a person in maximum-security prison for one year?

$15,000         $25,000         $50,000         $7,000

7. What percentage of Americans are currently in favor of the death penalty?

30%         50%         77%         90%

8. What percentage of death row inmates cannot afford to pay for their own attorney?

55%         75%         95%         100%

9. How many people are currently on death row in the United States?

178         3700         243,000

10. Which state still uses the electric chair?

Nebraska         Connecticut         Texas

11. Which of these methods of execution are in use in the United States?

Gas Chamber         Firing Squad                  Hanging         All of the above

12. True or False: Since 1973, more than 120 people have been released from death rows throughout the country due to evidence of their wrongful convictions.

13. True or False-The death penalty saves taxpayers money because it is cheaper to execute someone than to keep them in prison for the rest of their life.

14. True or False- Hanging has not been used as a method of execution in the United States for over 30 years.

15. True or False- No woman has been executed in the U.S. for over 25 years.

16. True or False- Those who commit a crime when they are under 18 years of age are ineligible for the death penalty in the U.S.

17. True or False- Since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976, more black people have been executed than white people.

18. True or False- In most states with the death penalty, you can be executed even if you suffer from mental illness.

19. True or False- There are some states in the U.S. where you cannot receive the death penalty for any crime.

20. True or False- The origins of the game of Hangman are obscure, but it seems to have arisen in Roman times.

Answers are in the comments!

1 comment:

Andrea said...

1. 22,000
In 1995 21, 597 homicides were committed. (The total U.S. population is about 266 million.) (Source Uniform Crime Reports, Pub. '96 by U.S. Dept. of Justice & the F.B.I.)

2. 1%

3. The decision is made by the District Attorney elected in the area. He or she can seek death in any homicide accompanied by a felony or any homicide considered particularly heinous. This ranges from a shooting during a robbery to a mass murder. Also there is variation between state to state.

4. 80%
Prosecutors are more likely to seek the death penalty in cases where the murder victim is white than when the victim is of another race. (Source: 1995, The Death Penalty Information Center, 1606 20th Street, NW)

5. 23
Radelet & Bedau found 23 cases where innocent persons were executed (Source: In Spite of Innocence, Northeastern Univ. Press, 1992)

6. $25,000

7. 77%
As of 1995 77% of Americans favor the death penalty for persons convicted of murder. In 1966, only 42% of Americans favored the death penalty. (Source: Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics 1995 Pub: U.S. Dept of Justice)

8. 95%

9. 3700

10. Nebraska

11. All of the above
12. True :
There have now been over 120 people released from death row after they were exonerated. Thus, for every 8 executions carried out, there has been one person formerly death on row who is now deemed innocent.

13. False
Although the costs of incarceration are expensive (about $25,000 per year per inmate), that amounts to $750,000 to $1,000,000 depending on whether a person lives 30 or 40 years after his or her sentencing. The death penalty, on the other hand, costs an additional $2 million per execution.

14. False
There have been three hangings in the U.S. since 1993. Delaware hanged one man in 1996 and the state of Washington conducted 2 hangings in the 1990s.

15. False
Velma Barfield was the first woman executed after the reinstatement of the death penalty. She was executed by lethal injection in North Carolina in 1984. Since then, ten additional women have been executed. There are about 50 women on death row awaiting execution.

16. True
The death penalty for juvenile offenders was ended by the Supreme Court in 2005.

17. False
About 34% of those who have been executed have been black, while 58% have been white. However, blacks constitute only about 12% of the U.S. population, so their execution rate is much higher than the rate of whites being executed.
Through the end of February 2006, 583 white people have been executed and 344 black people. However, racism in the use of the death penalty is shown when one looks at the race of the victims in the underlying crime that resulted in sending the inmate to death row. You are much more likely to receive the death penalty if the person you murdered was white than if the person you murdered was black.

18. True
While the Supreme Court ruled in 2002 in Atkins v. Virginia that it is unconstitutional to execute the mentally retarded, almost all states allow the execution of those with mental illness.

19. False
The statement is false because no matter what state you commit a crime in you can still receive the federal death penalty, providing you have broken one of the laws to which that federal penalty applies. For example, certain acts of kidnapping in which a death occurs could merit the federal death penalty, regardless of what state the crime occurs in. (Although there are 12 states that do not have the death penalty under state law.)

20. False
First reference to Hangman is in 1894 during Victorian times.