Worldwide, capital punishment is becoming less popular and is increasingly seen as a human-rights violation. The majority of executions take place in Iran, China and the United States combined. In the US, 37 states and the federal government allow execution as a criminal penalty under certain circumstances. The states with the highest numbers of executions are Texas, Florida, Virginia, Missouri and Oklahoma. Experienced legal counsel is of the utmost importance for anyone accused of a capital crime.
If you are accused of a serious crime, it is essential that you retain the services of a competent and experienced criminal-defense lawyer to fight for your legal and constitutional rights throughout the criminal-justice process. Remember that if you are unable to afford an attorney, you may be eligible for a free court-appointed lawyer.An Overview to Criminal Defense.
In 1972 the US Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty as it was carried out at that time constituted unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment. Since then, death penalty states have enacted new standards to meet the Supreme Court’s constitutional requirements. Broadly, a criminal sentence of death is unconstitutional unless the jury is allowed to meaningfully consider mitigating and aggravating factors from which the members of the jury can make a meaningful individualized decision about whether death would be appropriate considering the defendant’s particular background, record and character and the circumstances of the crime.Get classifications of alabama crimes.
The Supreme Court has also ruled that capital punishment is unconstitutional when applied to persons with developmental disabilities, Finding a Job After a Criminal Conviction and to minor children.
Capital punishment is the object of much emotion and debate in the US. People in support of it make some of these points:
- The defendant will not be able to escape or ever again commit a crime.
- Execution is an appropriate punishment for certain heinous crimes.
- The possibility of capital punishment as a criminal sanction will deter future criminals.
- The death of the perpetrator makes amends for his or her criminal act.
Arguments against the death penalty include:
- Life imprisonment without parole is a sufficient punishment; death is an excessive punishment; escape from prison is extremely rare.
- The killing by the government of the criminal defendant is itself a violent and immoral act.
- The defendant could be innocent and execution is final.
- Statistics show a weak link between murder rates and the availability of the death penalty so it may not be meaningfully deterrent.
- It makes us more unpopular diplomatically and gives us less clout to challenge human rights abuses abroad.
- There is evidence of racial discrimination and inadequate legal representation in death penalty cases.
In the US, the death penalty debate will no doubt continue to rage in the public and in the courts.
If you face a charge that could result in the imposition of the death penalty, seek the advice of a skilled defense attorney as early in the process as possible. Remember, if you cannot afford a lawyer, you may be eligible for free legal counsel through the court system.
Your lawyer should fight on your behalf every step of the way. If you are convicted of a crime for which the death penalty is available, your criminal-defense attorney should work hard with you to present evidence of your character and any difficult circumstances that contributed to the situation. A criminal-defense lawyer can advise you of your options.
DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.