death penalty [plea bargain agreeing to execution]

certain crimes in certain states will get someone the death penalty.

in those states, is there any situation that could exist that the person suspect of doing said crime(s) could arrange in a plea bargain that, if they plead guilty to that/ those crimes, they were to be transported straight to their states form of death, bypassing any and all possibility of a lengthy incarceration?

*I’m not thinking a bullet in their head leaving the d.a.'s office. more like within a few week’s time, for example.

There have been quite a few “death row volunteers,” who have pled guilty in capital cases and requested execution. However, I can’t imagine that a court would agree to immediate execution. No doubt the process would take months to years in any case.

Westley Alan Dodd was convicted of multiple murders in Washington. He waived all his appeals It took about 3 years between his conviction till he was hanged.

This guy was caught in 2014 for four pre-meditated murders, and explicitly confessed to them immediately so that he would quickly get the death penalty. His sentence didn’t come until nearly three years later, and I still don’t think he’s been executed yet. (He represented himself in court, which may have had something to do with the length of time.)

The whole investigation (including the confession, ect.) was described in this L.A. Times series.

The answer to the OP probably depends a lot on which state you’re looking at, but all of them are operating under the same U.S. constitutional issues.

Agreeing to a plea bargain for a heavier sentence, rather than a lighter one, and specifically requesting the death penalty, inflicted soon – that could easily be seen as evidence of mental incapacity. Which is enough for Courts to do some significant investigating before enforcing this plea agreement.

if someone was in fact guilty, and had the option to end it right then or be caged like an animal for years awaiting the same fate, I think choosing to be locked up 1st could be seen as lacking normal mental capacity too.

I do agree with your opinion as to how it would likely be looked at though

thanks everyone

I have a hazy memory that the Supreme Court has held that every death sentence must have at least one level of appellate review, but I’ve not been able to track it down. Will keep looking.

I missed the edit window
for clarifications sake, I was actually thinking more along the lines of said person would almost 100% be given the death penalty at a trials end anyway, so instead of going thru a trial and all the time and hassle it would take, agreeing to plead guilty if a fast track execution was given to them.

I thought an automatic appeal was a part of every death penalty conviction process, I could be wrong about that (and likely am). I just wasn’t sure what rights and access to normal processes could be signed away by someone of sound mind wanting to do so.

I believe it’s not technically possible to plea bargain for the death penalty in the United States, as the Supreme Court rulings explicitly require a jury trial to take place. It might be a brief trial if the person is attempting to just plead guilty, but I am pretty sure the formalities of a trial are required to happen for the execution to be legal. There are also mandatory waits and appeals before execution can be carried out, and other people can file for a stay of execution for a variety of reasons (anti-death penalty groups often do this), so I don’t think it’s legal to make a deal for an immediate transport for execution. There is an automatic right to appeal in all death penalty cases, but I don’t think that it’s actually mandatory for the defendant to appeal, it’s just always allowed.

There are a number of people who have volunteered to be executed by waiving or attempting to waive their automatic appeals. From looking at a few from the list, most take 2-9 years, though a few are faster - the first, Gary Gillmore in 1977 took less than a year from the trial to execution. The site below has a list of them, and you can easily google the defendant name to get more information on them:

good link, good info. spent a long time there reading


Depends on the state. In the wake of Furman v Georgia every state with the death penalty had to rework their procedures.

Baring use of a time machine to see how a trial might have ended, you just don’t have enough information pre-trial to make such a determination.

i did say almost 100%. I would say a lot of murderers, especially mass murderers that kill multiples of people indescriminately, could fit into that category.

*I’m also thinking of criminals that would be of the mindset of, ‘yea, you got me, I’m guilty. let’s get on with this thing’, not someone declaring their innocence and fighting prosecution every step of the way.

[cynical mode]
Once you’re indicted for any heinous crime, your life is immediately not your own any more; but instead, you immediately become nothing more that a game piece to be batted around by prosecutors, defense attorneys (possibly court-assigned), and multiple layers of courts and judges.
[/cynical mode]

it looks to be appx 10% of those placed on death row that wish to speed things up and get things over with. what you described was mentioned as a reason why for sure.

*speed things = refusing appeals and anything else that would prolong their time spent still alive

I don’t think it’s the lengthy incarceration they want, but as much time as possible to use appeals, or take any other remote opportunity to evade death.

I would be of the crowd that would prefer the exact opposite. I’d rather have a bullet in my head leaving the D.A.'s office than spend a day in jail if I knew I wasn’t getting out.

it seems appx 10% of those on death row want death sooner than later (from the link given above).

It’s my understanding that death row inmates are housed in a separate wing & get limited (even for prisoners) time out of their cell; limited social interaction (with other prisoners) & something like ½ hour in a small yard, by themselves, for exercise time. This is on top of being told what to do & when to do it (eat, sleep, etc.).

Assuming I killed someone & was caught, that sounds like Hell on Earth to me. I’d rather be dead than live out my years like that. Same thing if I ever became a quad. I wouldn’t want to live if I can’t move & do things for myself.

Suicide by cop shooting, is somewhat common form of death penalty plea agreement…sorta.