State Death Penalty Assessments

From 2003 to 2013, the Project conducted a series of comprehensive assessments on the administration of capital punishment in twelve U.S. states. The Assessments give jurisdictions an objective instrument to evaluate the administration of the death penalty, based upon uniform benchmarks in varied aspects of capital punishment processes. The reports demonstrate why jurisdictions should undertake comprehensive studies of their death penalty systems and the range of topics that must be considered in any thorough assessment. Several State Assessment Reports have also recommended that the state undertake a moratorium on executions until the state appropriately addresses the recommendations contained within the Report. In each assessed capital jurisdiction, the actual practices of the capital jurisdiction is compared to a series of recommendations on the administration of the death penalty, based on the original ABA Protocols on the Administration of Capital Punishment (2001) and the revised version (2010).

About the Assessments

Each state’s assessment was conducted by an on-the-ground Assessment Team. To the extent possible, each Team was composed of or had access to law school professors, current or former defense attorneys, current or former prosecutors, state bar representatives, current or former judges, and state legislators.