Upcoming: A new clemency hearing is set for tomorrow morning in Georgia for Kelly Renee Gissendaner, the only woman on the state's Death Row. As of now, she is set for execution by lethal injection at 7 pm ET Tuesday at the state prison in Jackson.
Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt statement on Supreme Court ruling: 'The state of Oklahoma is vested with the authority to carry out the sentence of death handed out by juries for the most heinous of crimes. State officials act deliberately and thoughtfully in carrying out this responsibility. This marks the eighth time a court has reviewed and upheld as constitutional the lethal injection protocol used by Oklahoma. The Court's ruling preserves the ability of the Department of Corrections to proceed with carrying out the punishment of death'
Editor's note: After today's two Supreme Court decisions, five cases remain before the term ends, typically at the end of June. The high court has yet to rule on major cases involving the legalities of same-sex marriage and a lethal injection drug used in recent botched executions. More decisions are expected tomorrow and possibly moving into next week. - Rebecca
In the United States, capital punishment—also called the death penalty—is a legal sentence in 31 states and the federal civilian and military legal systems. Its application is limited by the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution to aggravated murders committed by mentally competent adults.
Capital punishment was a penalty for many felonies under English common law, and it was enforced in all of the American colonies prior to the Declaration of Independence. The methods of execution and the crimes subject to the death penalty vary by state and have changed over time. The most common method since 1976 has been lethal injection. Since capital punishment was reinstated in 1976, thirty-four states have performed executions.
In 2014, 35 inmates were executed in the United States, and 3,002 were on death row. States such as Texas, Oklahoma, Florida, Missouri, Ohio, Virginia, Georgia, and Arizona execute convicted murderers with relative frequency. Texas has performed the most executions by far, and Oklahoma has had (through mid-2011) the highest per capita execution rate. Alabama has the highest per capita rate of prisoners on death row in the US. However, a number of states have abolished the death penalty, most recently Nebraska in May 2015.