A Hawaii courtroom in 2014 became the scene of a death penalty trial - the first such case in state history. It was a rare glimpse of death penalty jurisprudence considering Hawaii abolished capital punishment in 1957.
The federal court jury in Honolulu first found former Schofield Barracks soldier Naeem Williams guilty of capital murder for the death of his 5-year-old daughter. The jury then rejected the death penalty and found that he should spend the rest of his life in prison.
Williams was the first person to stand trial in Hawaii for a death penalty offense since the territorial legislature abolished capital punishment in 1957. He was prosecuted under federal law because the killing occurred on a U.S. military installation. Had the murder occurred on state land, the death penalty would not have been an option.
Capital Punishment Statutes in Hawaii
To some extent, states are permitted to have their own capital punishment laws: 18 states have banned capital punishment, and 32 states have death penalty laws in place. The following table outlines Hawaii's capital punishment laws.
|Is Capital Punishment Allowed?||No|
|Effect of Defendant's Incapacity||-|
|Available for Crimes Other than Homicide?||-|
|Definition of Capital Homicide||-|
|Method of Execution||-|
Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Hawaii criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Americans remain sharply divided on the issue of capital punishment. It is among the more divisive topics in our country with most national polls show close to an even split between those in favor of the death penalty and those who prefer life imprisonment. In recent years there has been a decline in executions, coinciding with a decrease in public support of the death penalty. Just 29 people were executed in 2014 (most of which occurred in Florida, Missouri, and Texas), down from a post-1978 peak of 98 in 1999.
Six states -- Maryland, Connecticut, Illinois, New Mexico, New York and New Jersey -- have repealed capital punishment since 2007, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.
Related Resources for Hawaii Capital Punishment Laws:
Many states have differing laws regarding the death penalty, and they can change over time. If you would like legal assistance with a death penalty matter, you can contact a Hawaii criminal law attorney. You can also visit FindLaw's Capital Punishment and the Death Penalty section for more articles and information on this topic.
Contact a qualified attorney.