Damico & Stockstill, Attorneys at Law

What is capital punishment in Louisiana?

Serious crimes mean serious punishments. For many, murder is considered the most serious and heinous crime, making it an extremely overwhelming and stressful situation for those facing a murder charge. Being accused of murder could significantly alter the life of the defendant, even if he or she is not convicted. Because of this, it is important to understand the consequences that could follow these charges and how best to pursue a criminal defense immediately following allegations.

Louisiana, like the majority of other states, views capital punishment as the appropriate sentence for those convicted of the most serious crimes, such as murder. In 2013, there were 32 states utilizing the death penalty. While these numbers have shrunk over the past several years as states abolished these practices, the state of Louisiana still utilizes the death penalty.

In order to face such a serious penalty, a defendant must be at least 18-years-old. Additionally, if a defendant is female and pregnant, the execution is stayed for 90 to 120 from the end of her pregnancy. Finally, a defendant suffering from a mental illness cannot be executed.

A person could receive a capital punishment for treason and capital homicide. This type of homicide is defined as being a murder that is committed during the commission of an aggravated rape, forcible rape, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated burglary, aggravated arson, drive-by shooting, aggravated escape, armed, simple or first degree robbery and the victim was a fireman or policeman, previous conviction of murder and other serious crimes, knowingly creating risk of death or for remuneration. It also applies for an especially heinous crime, where a victim is under the age of 12 or over 65, during or because of the distribution of a controlled dangerous substance or when a victim is a witness against the defendant.

If you are facing a crime that carries a capital punishment or you have been convicted of such a crime, it is important to understand your rights and options when it comes to criminal defense strategies. Asserting a defense could help bring evidence into light or dismiss the evidence used against the accused. Either way, this could help a defendant dismiss the charges or assert an appeal, helping them avoid serious penalties.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Louisiana Capital Punishment Laws," accessed Jan. 14, 2017

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