Capital punishment -- or the "death penalty" -- is primarily reserved for those convicted of first-degree murder, particularly where there is a lack of remorse or a pattern of cruelty. But those who commit murder in the commission of another felony (even if accidental) also may be sentenced to death. Lethal injection is the most common method for executions, but some give the accused the option to be executed by hanging, electric chair, or other methods. Controversy over the role of medical staff at executions, as well as the difficulties
Capital punishment has had a long and twisted path in the United States, from regular hangings during Colonial times to an increase in statewide moratoriums in the late 20th century. The last time the federal government banned capital punishment (nationwide) was in 1976, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Georgia's death penalty statute was too arbitrary. But just four years later, the Court reinstated capital punishment (Gregg v. Georgia ), providing a legal benchmark for states wishing to reinstate it as well.
A majority of states embraced (and legalized) state-sponsored executions after 1976, but it has been banned in a number of states. It remains a controversial punishment in the U.S. and around the world, as virtually all industrialized nations except the U.S. prohibit the practice.
Alaska Capital Punishment Laws at a Glance
Capital punishment is not allowed in Alaska, having been abolished through legislation in 1957 (actually two years before Alaska became the 49th state).
See FindLaw's Death Penalty section for more articles and resources.
|Is Capital Punishment Allowed?||Not authorized (abolished in 1957 by state lawmakers)|
|Effect of Defendant's Incapacity||-|
|Available for Crimes Other than Homicide?||-|
|Definition of Capital Homicide||-|
|Method of Execution||-|
Note: State laws are subject to change at any time through the decisions of higher courts, the enactment of newly signed legislation, and other limited means. While we strive to ensure the accuracy of these pages, you also may want to contact an Alaska criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
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