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2020 Presidential Election

2020 Criminal Justice: Death penalty


  • Capital punishment, or the death penalty, is a government-sanctioned practice where a convicted individual is killed by the state. [Amnesty International]
  • Since 2003, state governments have been solely responsible for capital punishment. The current Department of Justice is hoping to resume federal executions. [Associated Press]
  • May 2019: 21 states have abolished the death penalty. [Axios]
  • Oct. 2019: 56% of Americans favor the death penalty if a person is convicted of murder. [Gallup]
  • Learn more about the death penalty here.

President Trump supports the death penalty. 


What he's said:

  • 2018: "I think they should very much bring the death penalty into vogue," [Associated Press]
  • 2016: "I’ve always supported the death penalty. I don’t even understand people that don’t..." [Vice]

What he's done:

Under the Trump administration, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced it would restart federal executions in July 2019. [Associated Press

  • The DOJ scheduled 5 executions. [Axios]
  • This reversed a 16-year end to federal executions. [USA Today]

Former Vice President Biden is against the death penalty. 


What he's said

"Because we cannot ensure we get death penalty cases right every time, Biden will work to pass legislation to eliminate the death penalty at the federal level, and incentivize states to follow the federal government’s example." [Joe Biden Campaign]


What he's done

During the Obama-Biden administration, no federal executions were conducted. 


[Politico], [Reuters]

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