The death penalty is the most severe form of punishment available and is reserved for only the most serious crimes such as murder, terrorism and other capital offenses. Not every state will use the death penalty as a punishment, and the number of states which prohibit the death penalty has been increasing. Whenever the death penalty is being considered, the courts will take a great amount of time in deciding whether it is warranted. Often there are extra measures which the court must take in order to use the death penalty, such as a decision by jury which is separate from the verdict.
Normally the death penalty is only used for crimes which involve killing, and even then, only the most extreme cases of murder warrant capital punishment. The most common cases that involve the death penalty include:
First Degree Murder
Murder of a Police Officer
Murder of a Government Official
Many of the criteria which determine whether the death penalty should be used involve the nature of the case. The criminals intentions and behavior will play a large role in deciding whether to use the death penalty. There a lot of controversy about whether the death penalty should be used under any circumstances. Some people believe that it is immoral to sentence someone to death even if they have committed a serious crime.
Criminal Defense for the Death Penalty
A criminal attorney will go to any lengths to keep his client from being sentenced to death. If the death penalty is being considered in a criminal case, then it is most likely a very serious criminal offense, such as first degree murder, where the prosecution has a strong case against the defendant. Only the most skilled and experienced criminal lawyers will be able to handle the pressure of a death penalty case. Not only are they trying to keep their client from capital punishment, but they must simultaneously deal with evidence and testimony that the prosecution is using to incriminate the defendant. Because the death penalty is such a frightening prospect, many defendants will choose to plea bargain even if they are innocent. Deciding whether to plea bargain or go to trial is a very difficult decision and should only be made after having a free case review from an experienced criminal lawyer.