Capital punishment is one of the most widely debated areas of criminal law across the United States. Many states have abolished capital punishment in favor of life sentences in prison. Georgia is one of the many states that continue to practice capital punishment, even though historically, the issue has been challenged on many levels. For example, in 1972, the landmark case Furman v. Georgia challenged the state’s use of capital punishment. In Furman v. Georgia, the U.S. Supreme Court found that Georgia’s capital punishment laws were uneven, and therefore “cruel and unusual”, which is in violation of the U.S. Constitution. The Supreme Court also found that Georgia’s capital punishment laws were biased.
Following Furman v. Georgia, many states abolished capital punishment, but in subsequent years reinstated it for violent and serious offenders. Georgia is one of the states that followed suit. However, when Georgia reinstated capital punishment, new, fairer guidelines were implemented in order to reduce bias and protect Constitutional rights. Since that time, Georgia lawmakers have continued to amend and correct inconsistencies in capital punishment laws, with the current breakdown of the laws reading as follows:
- Capital Homicide – Capital homicide is the common classification under which several crimes are listed as subject to capital punishment. These crimes include murder, armed robbery, rape, and kidnapping by anyone who is a previously convicted felon. Additionally, anyone knowingly creating danger and risk to the life of another person in public is subject to capital punishment. Furthermore, murder committed for financial gain, against officers of the court, against law enforcement officers, or in an inhuman, horrible, or wantonly dangerous manner, are crimes also punishable by capital punishment.
- Crimes Other than Capital Homicide – Georgia law lists two non-homicide crimes that qualify for capital punishment, including hijacking an aircraft and treason.
- Suspended Sentence – Certain circumstances may result in the court suspending a sentence of capital punishment, such as in the event of a pregnant defendant. When this is the case, the court will not execute capital punishment until after the woman is no longer pregnant.
- Age Restrictions – Currently, Georgia law mandates that the standard minimum age in which an individual can be sentenced to capital punishment is 17 years of age. There are cases where capital punishment may be sought against younger individuals, but in most cases, such defendants are generally sentenced to life in prison.
Avoid the Death Penalty with a Strong Criminal Defense
Prosecutors routinely seek capital punishments, i.e., the death penalty, in cases of violence, rape, kidnapping, and murder. Even so, it is important that anyone accused of a serious crime understand his or her rights to a legal defense. There are many complexities to criminal cases, especially those involving capital punishment, and it is critical to have a proper system of legal support in place in order to avoid the death penalty.
At Abt Law Firm, LLC, our team is well versed in current Georgia law concerning capital punishment. Our Atlanta Murder Trial Lawyer fights aggressively to protect the future of every client, including fighting capital punishment. If you have been arrested and are being charged with crimes that could result in the death penalty, act quickly to get the help you need. Contact Abt Law Firm, LLC today to avoid the death penalty by calling (678) 582-2272. We proudly offer free consultations to clients in our office, at the jail, or over the telephone, and are available 24/7 for your convenience. Get the help you need, and the defense that you can trust, by calling Abt Law Firm, LLC.