The Death Penalty: 60 Years After the Rosenbergs’ Execution

by Leah Sakala, June 19, 2013

At sundown 60 years ago today, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were wrongfully executed by the U.S. Government after courts found them guilty of espionage. Now, six decades later, we know that their execution was a direct result of the mass hysteria about the dangers of communism at the beginning of the Cold War.

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg

But what have we learned in the six decades since the Rosenbergs’s wrongful execution? Thanks to the tireless work of organizations like the Innocence Project and pro bono law clinics, the list of innocent people who have been exonerated from death row is steadily growing.

But, as the below graph shows, the struggle to abolish the death penalty still has a long ways to go:

Executions in the United States 1950



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    Our Policy Analyst Lucius Couloute will be at the LEDA Summit on Race and Inclusion in Holland, Michigan, presenting his research on the challenges and disadvantages people face when they are released from prison. Tickets are available on LEDA’s website.

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