Politics/Policy
1:29 pm
Thu November 17, 2011

Executions: Idaho 2. Texas 477.

Boise, ID - Friday morning Idaho is scheduled to execute convicted murderer Paul Ezra Rhoades. Idaho has conducted one execution in the past 35 years. Texas on the other hand has executed 477 inmates in that same time span. Ginny Hatch is with Boise State University’s criminal justice department. She says her students often ask her why Texas has so many executions. She answers it comes down to population.

Ginny Hatch “They literally have hundreds, hundreds of inmates on death row.”

Texas has more than 300 people on death row now. Idaho has 15 including Paul Rhoades. Texas also has more than 25 million people compared to Idaho’s one and a half million. Neighboring Montana is closer in population size and has two people on death row. It''s executed three inmates since 1976. Meanwhile Oregon has roughly four million people with more than 30 people on death row. Oregon is set to execute a prisoner early next month. That will make three in the past 35 years. But population isn''t the only factor explains Stuart Banner. He teaches law at the University of California at Los Angeles.

Stuart Banner “A lot of it has to do with judges, the appellate judges in a place and how frequently they affirm or reverse death sentences.”

Banner says California’s 9th circuit court of appeals has a reputation as anti- death penalty. Idaho also falls under the jurisdiction of this court.  However the 9th circuit does not always rule against the death penalty. It rejected the final appeal of Paul Ezra Rhoades earlier this week.