Louisiana, like a majority of other states, continues to use capital punishment (the death penalty) as a sentence for some of the most serious crimes. As of 2013, there were 32 states (plus the federal government and U.S. military) that utilize the death penalty. This is a fluid number, though, as states frequently pass laws abolishing or reinstating capital punishment.
Although some states have abolished the practice, Louisiana has held firm in utilizing the death penalty. Taxpayers pay a steep price for death penalty cases - often three times that of a non-death penalty case. The basics of Louisiana capital punishment law are highlighted in the following table. See History of Death Penalty Laws to learn more.
|Code Section||14:30, et seq.; 14:113; 15:567, et seq.|
|Is Capital Punishment Allowed?||Yes|
|Effect of Defendant's Incapacity||If woman defendant is found to be pregnant, execution is stayed until 90-120 days from end of pregnancy; a person may not be executed while suffering from mental illness|
|Minimum Age||18 (after U.S. Supreme Court decision)|
|Available for Crimes Other than Homicide?||Treason|
|Definition of Capital Homicide||Murder committed during commission of aggravated rape, forcible rape; aggravated kidnapping; aggravated burglary; aggravated arson; drive-by shooting; aggravated escape; armed robbery or simple robbery or first degree robbery victim was fireman or police officer engaged in lawful duties; previous conviction of murder and other serious crimes; knowingly created a risk of death or great bodily harm to more than 1 person; for remuneration; especially heinous, atrocious or cruel; victim under age of 12 years or over 65 years; distribution, etc. of a controlled dangerous substance; victim was witness against defendant|
|Method of Execution||Lethal injection|
Capital Punishment in America
In 2014, 29 people were put to death in the United States (mostly in Florida, Missouri, and Texas), down from a post-1976 peak of 98 in 1999 and part of a decline from 52 in 2009. Four states -- Connecticut, New Mexico, Oregon, and Pennsylvania -- have only executed volunteers (death row prisoners who waive their appeals) since capital punishment was reinstituted in 1976.
Louisiana Capital Punishment Laws: Related Resources
Public opinion regarding executions is constantly changing, and state laws regarding the death penalty may shift as well. If you would like more introductory articles and resources on this topic, you can visit FindLaw’s Capital Punishment and the Death Penalty section to learn more. If you would like legal assistance with a death penalty case, you can schedule a consultation with an experienced Louisiana criminal law attorney in your area.
Contact a qualified attorney.