What Crimes are Punishable By Death in Pennsylvania?
Committing a crime is always punishable by the law. However, some crimes simply cannot be atoned for by spending time behind bars. The state of Pennsylvania has created a so-called “death penalty”, also known as the “capital punishment”. This type of punishment is reserved for the most serious murder charges.
If the jury decides that the defendant is guilty and that he or she committed a horrible (murder) crime, they will sentence the defendant to a death penalty.
Note: Most states that have a death penalty have different rules and laws regulating the penalty.
Here is the List of Crimes punishable by death in Pennsylvania.
Murder of Fireman Or Police Servants
If anyone commits a murder, they will face severe punishments. However, killing a police officer, a fireman, a public servant or anyone in that field of service will be punished by death. In Pennsylvania, those who commit such horrendous crimes will be punished with a lethal injection. After the final decision and the hearing, the accused will receive a date and be held in prison solitary until the day has arrived.
Most police officers (whether state or local law enforcement officials), federal law enforcement officials, or anyone employed to assist any law enforcement official in the performance of their duties is constantly at the risk of paying the ultimate price. They all face different crimes on a daily basis, and their lives are constantly at risk. Because of that, committing the worst crime (murder) against these officials will yield a death penalty. Consult with criminal lawyers in Pittsburgh if you have any questions concerning the matter, and if you are being criminally charged for whatever the reason.
Murdering a Judge of (of any court in the unified judicial system)
Another reason why the death penalty is issued is because of the murder of a judge from a court in the unified judicial system. This is another serious crime, that is immediately punishable by the law and with the most severe repercussions.
Other similar cases include murdering:
- An attorney general of Pennsylvania
- A deputy attorney general
- A district attorney
- The assistant district attorney
- Member of a general assembly
- The Governor
- Lieutenant governor
- Auditor general
- State treasurer
- Those who are a part of a gang or a criminal activity
- Those who murdered in self-defense (other rules may apply based on the circumstances)
- Those who were paid to commit a murder
- Those who kidnap people and ask for ransom
- Those who commit anti-government crimes
Most of them are people with some type of mental condition. These people are either sick or have nothing else to lose. Or, they have simply had enough, and want to make a “change” or set an example. Sadly, such people exist everywhere. Most of the time they are not easily recognized, as they are quiet or unnoticeable. However, once they commit a murder, they will be punished severely for their actions. Pittsburgh Criminal Attorneys can help you with any information about Pennsylvania’s criminal laws. Feel free to reach out today and schedule your initial free consultation to get informed.
Some people voluntarily commit acts of violence. Most of them have been sentenced before; some received a life sentence, others spent 15-25 years behind the bars. However, continuing the same behavior will result in a death penalty. If an inmate was charged with a life sentence, after murdering in prison, he or she may face a death penalty, depending on the circumstances of the crime.
Also, if the defendant was an accomplice in killing and voluntary manslaughter, they will be considered for a death penalty.
Removing the Competition
Drug wars are a serious thing in the United States. Many parties are fighting over supremacy, and the United States Government is working 24/7 to clean the streets and imprison as many of those criminals as possible. There are many crimes associated with drug sales and transport. Committing a murder under heavy substance abuse will be charged with a death penalty. At the same time, if the victim was a competition in the sale, manufacture, distribution or delivery of the controlled substances, the defendant will also be charged with a death penalty.
Everyone involved with drugs and substance sale, distribution and manufacture will be sentenced to prison when caught. These types of crimes will be prosecuted without mercy and with the most severe of the punishments.
The Victim Was Under The Age of 12
In most of the states within the U.S., when someone commits a crime and murders a human being (that was younger than the age of 12), a child, that person will be sentenced to death. Any type of physical or sexual abuse of a child is sentenced with the maximum penalty; however, the murder of a child under the age of 12 will result in a death penalty.
Criminal attorneys in Pittsburgh say that there are several cases each year where a child under the age of 12 was murdered. That is why state agencies have no mercy for those who commit these types (or any similar types) of crimes. They will be executed upon a date with a legal injection.
Once the defendant is found guilty of first-degree murder, and once several hearings have been made, the defendant will be put on death row. For this to happen, the sentence must be saught by the jury and be unanimous. Even if a single juror opposed death, the defendant will be charged with life in jail (a life sentence).
Also, a death sentence has to be affirmed by the state Supreme Court. Once affirmed, the governor of the state will sign off on the death sentence (the Governor’s Warrant).
According to Pittsburgh criminal defense attorneys, the average cost of housing and taking care of a death row inmate per year is about $42,000. That money could be put to better use in the future.
For all the information concerning the recent changes in the law and regulations concerning the death penalty, speak with attorneys today.
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