NPR had a national story this morning that comports with the situation here in North Carolina entitled “Death sentences drop to historic lows in 2011.” 
Of course, given this reality, we should have seen a big bump in homicides in light the death penalty’s big “deterrent effect.”
Uh, not so fast my friend.
It turns out the murder rate in the United States  has been dropping right along with the use of the death penalty and is now lower than at any time since the early 1960’s. It’s about half the rate it was less than 20 years ago when the death machine was going full tilt.