The death penalty in the United States has been imposed since the country’s inception, but recently has been fading in popularity and usage. As of 2020, half the states have abolished the death penalty by statute or governor-ordered moratorium. States that do impose capital punishment typically do so in the form of lethal injection and invariably only after years of appeals.
The death penalty was briefly abolished by the Supreme Court in 1972, when it ruled that it was being applied in an unconstitutional manner. Revised death penalty statutes were allowed by the Court in 1976 and the death penalty has been considered constitutional ever since.
While the death penalty can be imposed for some crimes that don’t involve deaths, almost all death penalty sentences are imposed by unanimous jury verdicts after conviction for first degree murders.