*Death Penalty*

Reading about the recent news of the FBI agent who avoided the death penalty and was sentenced to life in prison for spying for the Russians, a question came to mind.

What crimes can a person commit, other than high treason and first degree murder, that would allow the death penalty to be imposed?

This site gives summaries for each state.

Besides murder (first degree, aggravated, or capital, plus a few other terms) and treason, we find the following:

California: train wrecking; perjury causing execution

Florida: capital drug trafficking; capital sexual battery

Idaho: aggravated kidnaping

Kentucky: kidnaping with aggravating factors

Louisiana: aggravated rape of victim under age 12

Mississippi: aircraft piracy

Montana: capital sexual assault

New Jersey: solicitation by command or threat in furtherance of a narcotics conspiracy

South Dakota: aggravated kidnaping

Errr… what the heck is this? Is that legalese for being a drug kingpin? :confused:

Well, the whole line for NJ on that page is:

So, without actually delving into the NJ law, I’d think that ‘solicitation’ is ‘solicitation of murder’, so the DP would apply if a person were to order someone killed to help a drug enterprise work.

Until the signing of the European Convention on Human Rights in 1999 the sole remaining crime which could be punishable by death in the UK was that of High Treason. High treason apparently included the murder of a King, Queen or the heir to the throne, piracy with violence, murder of the Lord Chancellor or violating the monarch’s eldest daughter.

Quoting from the London Radio Service, http://www.lrs.co.uk

The offence of treason dates back to 1351. Under the Act, high treason included the murder of a King, Queen or the heir to the throne, and piracy with violence. But no one has been executed under it since 1946, when the Nazi propagandist, William Joyce - known as Lord Haw Haw - was hanged. In Strasbourg on Wednesday, Mr Straw signed the sixth protocol of the European Convention on Human Rights, thus formally abolishing the death penalty in the UK. Last year MP’s in the British Parliament voted to outlaw capital punishment except “in times of war or imminent threat of war”. Capital punishment for murder was abolished in Britain 24 years ago. In London, this is Stuart Sutton-Jones.

Didn’t the U.S. Supreme Court rule that the death penalty is unconstitutional except for murder? I’m pretty sure it did. If so, states can make any crime they like punishable by death – that doesn’t mean they’re actually allowed to do so.


Under the Uniform Code of Military Justice of the U.S., the following are death penalty offenses (asterisk indicates death penalty is only applicable during wartime):
[ul][li]Desertion*[/li][li]Assaulting or disobeying superior commissioned officers*[/li][li]Mutiny or sedition (or failure to suppress or report same)[/li][li]Misbehavior before the enemy[/li][li]Subordinate compelling surrender[/li][li]Improper use of countersign*[/li][li]Forcing a safeguard[/li][li]Aiding the enemy[/li][li]Spying (or lurking about attempting to spy)[/li][li]Espionage (when knowingly creating a grave risk of substantial damage to national security or of death to another person)[/li][li]Improper hazarding of vessel (must be willful and wrongful)[/li][li]Misbehavior of a sentinel or lookout[/li][li]Murder (with premeditated design to kill, or during a burglary, sodomy, rape, robbery or aggravated arson)[/li]Rape[/ul]

Forgot to mention that the UCMJ is applicable to all members of the U.S. armed forces no matter where they are in the world, though the U.S. will on occasion give up jurisdiction if the crimes involve local civilians.