Why Capital Punishment Declined Nationwide, but Thrives in Several Counties

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Melanie Bostic (L) of Lancaster, California and Michael Wharton of San Leandro, California hold a sign outside of the California State Prison at San Quentin February 9, 2004 in San Quentin, California

Capital punishment is declining throughout the United States, largely due to bipartisan concerns over the high cost of capital murder trials (costing “$1 million more on litigation for a defendant sentenced to death than on one sentenced to life in prison”). Emily Bazelon, staff writer for New York Times Magazine, co-host of the Slate Political Gabfest, and Truman Capote Fellow at Yale Law School, joins us to discuss her recent piece for the magazine, “Where the Death Penalty Still Lives.”  Bazelon investigated the small fraction of counties (16 out of 3,000) that still impose death sentences despite this trend.