“Death Penalty for Female Offenders” by Victor Streib, January 1, 1973 through June 30, 2009, Issue #64, by Victor Streib,Professor of Law, Ohio Northern University.
(1) From 1973 through mid-2009, the leading states for sentencing women to death are
with nineteen, Texas with eighteen, California with seventeen, and Florida with sixteen. North Carolina
(2) As of mid-2009,
has fifteen women on death row, and California has ten. Texas
(3) Currently on death row are thirteen women who killed their husbands or boyfriends, and another eleven women who killed their children. Two other women killed both their husbands and their children. These twenty-six women account for almost half of the fifty-three women now on death row.
(4) The most recent execution of a female offender was that of Frances Newton in
on Texas September 14, 2005.
(5) The most unusual recent development is the rebirth of federal death penalties for women. No women had received federal death sentences in the entire current era (beginning in 1973) until one such sentence was imposed in late 2005 and another in early 2008.
SCREENING FEMALE OFFENDERS FROM THE DEATH PENALTY
(1) Women account for about one in ten (10.0%) murder arrests;
(2) Women account for only one in forty-nine (2.0%) death sentences imposed at the trial level;
(3) Women account for only one in sixty-two (1.6%) persons presently on death row; and
(4) Women account for only one in one hundred and six (0.9%) persons actually executed in this modern era.
DEATH SENTENCES IMPOSED UPON FEMALE OFFENDERS IN CURRENT ERA
(1) A total of 165 death sentences have been imposed upon female offenders from 1973 through mid-2009. Table 1 below provides these data by individual year.
(2) These 165 death sentences for female offenders constitute just 2% of all death sentences during this time period.
(3) The annual death sentencing rate for female offenders during the last decade has averaged four per year.