Capital Convictions by Calendar Year

Once a jury found an individual guilty of a capital crime, rape or murder, the judge had to sentence him/her to be executed at the gallows. Before 1890 there was no court of appeals, yet individuals were able to avoid the gallows by having the President commute their sentence, or pardon them. (Click here to see a list of those who received Presidential pardons or commutations.) By 1890 defendants could appeal to the Supreme Court. Many verdicts were reversed and new trials were ordered. (To learn more about those who received reversals, click here.)

Year

Number of
Convictions

Number of those who were eventually executed
(not necessarily in same calendar year)

1875

12

10

1876

8

5

1877

7

0

1878

2

2

1879

4

2

1880

2

0

1881

7

5

1882

3

2

1883

7

3

1884

8

4

1885

11

4

1886

10

8

1887

9

5

1888

9

3

1889

15

10

1890

5

2

1891

2

1

1892

4

3

1893

0

0

1894

13

0

1895

21

10

1896

2

0

Last updated: April 10, 2015

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