New Hampshire Capital Punishment Laws

The U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty, or capital punishment, in 1976 (Gregg v. Georgia) after having ruled it unconstitutional a few years prior. This ruling essentially gave states the green light to make capital punishment legal, and most did (although the death penalty has fallen out of favor among many Americans and has been prohibited by a number of states). Generally, the death penalty is reserved for those convicted of the most heinous murders, but also may be applied when murder is committed in the commission of another felony (even if accidental).

Most states use lethal injection to carry out capital sentences, although some give the accused the option to be executed by hanging, electric chair, or other methods. This is a rapidly changing area of law, as a growing number of states have banned the practice.

New Hampshire Capital Punishment Laws: Overview

The death penalty is an available punishment New Hampshire for capital crimes, but the state has only executed a small number of death row inmates since it was reinstated in 1977. Lethal injection is the primary method of execution in New Hampshire, although hanging is the second option.

Additional details about New Hampshire's capital punishment provisions are listed in the following table. See FindLaw's Death Penalty section for more articles and resources.

Code Section 630:1, et seq.
Is Capital Punishment Allowed? Yes
Effect of Defendant's Incapacity Exempt from execution if pregnant
Minimum Age 17
Available for Crimes Other than Homicide? None
Definition of Capital Homicide Intentional murder or infliction of serious bodily injury leading to death; committed by a person already in prison; already convicted of murder; defendant previously been convicted of 2 or more state or federal crimes punishable by terms of imprisonment of more than one year on different occasions involving crimes upon a person or distribution of controlled substances; defendant created grave risk of death to one or more persons during commission of capital murder; murder committed with premeditation and planning; especially heinous, cruel or depraved manner; for pecuniary gain; committed for purpose of escape from lawful custody; victim was particularly vulnerable due to old age, youth or infirmity; victim a law enforcement officer or judicial officer acting in line of duty or when death is caused as a consequence of or in retaliation for such person's actions in line of duty; multiple victims; while attempting to commit kidnapping
Method of Execution Lethal injection, or hanging if lethal injection becomes impractical to carry out

Note: State laws are subject to change at any time through the enactment of newly signed legislation, decisions from higher courts, and other means. You may want to contact a New Hampshire criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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