Capital punishment is a legal penalty in the united states currently used by 28 states american samoa the federal government and the military its existence can be traced to the beginning of the american colonies along with japan taiwan and singapore the united states is one of four advanced democracies and the only developed western nation that applies the death penalty regularly. Public support for the death penalty is declining recent polling has mirrored the decline in the death penaltys use with support among americans dropping sharply according to a gallup poll it reached its lowest in 45 years in 2017 just 55 percent of americans voiced support for its use jeffrey m jones gallup. The washington supreme court also recently struck down the states death penalty on october 11 2018 this was the fourth time the court has ruled the states capital punishment law unconstitutional calling it invalid because it is imposed in an arbitrary and racially biased manner. Death penalty in the usa the death penalty also known as capital punishment is a practice authorized by the government in which a person is ordered death sentence as a punishment for capital crimes or capital offenses such as murder rape war crimes sedition genocide drug trafficking terrorism treason espionage and other serious offenses
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