Georgia Capital Punishment Laws

Although some states have abolished the practice, Georgia and most other states continue to use capital punishment (the death penalty) as a sentence for some of the most serious crimes. Georgia capital punishment law may be applied to defendants 17 and older for certain homicides (including those involving rape, armed robbery, or against a peace officer, for example), as well as for airplane hijacking or treason.

Georgia become the epicenter of American death penalty policy after the U.S. Supreme Court found the uneven application of Georgia's capital punishment laws "cruel and unusual" in 1972 (Furman v. Georgia). Generally, the Court held that Georgia's laws tended to be biased against black defendants; although Justices didn't all agree on their rationale.

This case essentially led to a nationwide moratorium on the practice, but more than 35 states -- including Georgia in 1973 -- reinstituted the death penalty by enacting new statutes that were intended to apply the sentence more fairly.

The basics of Georgia capital punishment law are highlighted in the following table. See History of Death Penalty Laws to learn more.

Code Section 17-10-30, et seq.
Is Capital Punishment Allowed? Yes
Effect of Defendant's Incapacity Suspend sentence; shall not be executed; if pregnant, time period after no longer pregnant
Minimum Age 17
Available for Crimes Other than Homicide? Aircraft hijacking or treason in any case
Definition of Capital Homicide Murder, rape, armed robbery, kidnapping committed by person with prior record of conviction for capital felony; murder, rape, armed robbery, kidnapping committed while engaged in commission of other capital felony; knowingly created grave risk of death to multiple persons in public place by use of weapon/device; murder committed for financial gain; judicial officer, district attorney or solicitor (or formers) because of exercise of duties; committed as agent of another; outrageously or wantonly vile, horrible or inhuman; against peace officer, corrections officer, fireman while performing duties; offender escaped from lawful custody/confinement; avoiding lawful arrest
Method of Execution Lethal injection

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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Georgia Capital Punishment Laws: Related Resources

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