The Death Penalty in the 1960s.
In 1970 thirty-nine states allowed the death penalty for some crimes. Six states had abolished the death penalty in the 1960s, and about 40 percent of the people who were asked in public-opinion surveys said that the death penalty should be abolished. States were executing few in-mates, largely because death-penalty opponents were mounting a legal campaign to obtain stays of execution in every case. During the 1960s about forty persons a year were sentenced to death, but only a few were executed. No one was executed in the years from 1968 to 1971.
Challenges.The legal campaign against the death penalty was led by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Legal Defense and Education Fund (LDF) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The LDF had long been concerned with the death penalty because it was more often imposed on blacks than on white people who...
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