Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Michigan and the Death Penalty

Death penalty statutes in the United States
(Click on map to enlarge)

Color key: No current death penalty statute Statute or method declared unconstitutional Not applied since 1976 Has performed execution since 1976

I was talking to a native Californian the other day about the death penalty — not sure how we landed on that topic – and he remarked "I'm sure Michigan has a lot of executions." I guess people just assume that states with a lot of crime have a lot of executions. Texas would be a good example. I'm not exactly an expert on this topic. I didn't even know if Michigan had the death penalty or not. So I was a little surprised to discover via Wikipedia that the state government has never executed anyone:
"Historically, several states have been without capital punishment - the earliest being Michigan, which has not carried out a single execution of its own since it entered the Union (one federal execution occurred in Michigan in 1938), and shortly after attaining statehood abolished the death penalty for ordinary crimes, making it the first English-speaking government in the world to do so."

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Thanks for commenting. I moderate comments, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at www.teardownbook.com.