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Executions Scheduled for 2023
Recent executions and death warrants illustrate the geographic isolation and arbitrariness of the U.S. death penalty
On August 17, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued a death warrant scheduling the execution of Michael Zack for October 3. It is the sixth execution date set in Florida for 2023.
As new death sentences remain near historic lows across the United States and the vast majority of U.S. counties have no one on death row, the death penalty has increasingly become the product of a small number of outlier jurisdictions concentrated in the deep South and the contiguous states of Texas, Oklahoma, and Missouri.
So far this year, nine U.S. states have scheduled a total of 55 execution dates. Seventeen of those death warrants have resulted in executions: five each in Florida and Texas, four in Missouri, two in Oklahoma, and one in Alabama. Four other states — Ohio (12), Pennsylvania (2), Arizona, and Idaho — have set execution dates that were not or will not be carried out.
Here is a table of the outcomes of the death warrants setting execution dates in the U.S. for 2023.
The pending execution dates illustrate the continuing geographic isolation and arbitrariness of the U.S. death penalty. Ten executions are pending in three states: five in Oklahoma, four in Texas, and one in Florida. Collectively, those three states account for more than half (808) of the 1,575 executions carried out in the U.S. over the course of the past 50 years.
The five states that have carried out executions this year are the 1st (Texas, 583), 2nd (Oklahoma, 121), 4th (Florida, 104), 5th (Missouri, 97), and 7th (Alabama, 71) most prolific executioners in the U.S. in the “modern era” of U.S. capital punishment, since states reintroduced the death penalty after the Supreme Court struck down all existing capital punishment laws in Furman v. Georgia in 1972. Collectively, those five states account for 976 executions, more than 3/5ths of all the U.S. executions in the last half-century. They also account for more than 2/3rds of the executions in the country in the past decade (129 of 189, 68.3%) and nearly 3/4ths of executions carried out by U.S. states during that period (129 of 176, 73.3%).
If we add the 76 executions conducted by Georgia — the country’s sixth most prolific executioner — to the total, those six states account for 884 executions since Furman and 151 in the past decade. That’s 56.1% of the national total in the past 50 years, 79.9% of the U.S. executions since August 2014, and 85.8% of all executions conducted by U.S. states in the past decade.
Here are the executions currently scheduled in the U.S. for the rest of 2023.
The Death Penalty Policy Project (“DP3”) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization housed within the Phillips Black Inc. public interest legal practice. DP3 provides information, analysis, and critical commentary on capital punishment and the role the death penalty plays in mass incarceration in the United States.