Death Penalty Facts
STEVE INSKEEP, host:
In refusing to commute Tookie Williams' death sentence, Governor Schwarzenegger followed the lead of other California governors from both parties. No governor in that state has granted clemency since Ronald Reagan in the 1960s.
RENEE MONTAGNE, host:
In the 1970s, the US Supreme Court stopped capital punishment nationwide, then allowed it to resume. Just over 1,000 convicted felons have been put to death.
INSKEEP: The number of executions in the United States peaked in 1999 when 98 people were put to death. Since then, the rate of executions has sharply decreased.
MONTAGNE: Support for the death penalty has also declined, according to a recent Gallup Poll. A decade ago 80 percent of Americans said they supported the death penalty. Today that number is 64 percent.