Criminal Justice: Fewer Executions

In Kentucky last week, the state leg slature overwhelmingly defeated a bill to abolish capital punishment; in Tennessee, a Memphis judge sentenced five Negroes to electrocution for raping a white girl. At the same time, the Justice Department announced an alltime low in U.S. executions: in 1965, only seven persons were put to death throughout the country.

The figures reflect a paradox in the U.S. attitude toward capital punishment. Last year four states virtually abolished the death sentence (New York, Iowa, Vermont, West Virginia), bringing the total of abolition states to 13. But while the rest of the country is still...