Crimes Punishable by the Death Penalty

Summary of States' Death Penalty Statutes - From Bureau of Justice Statistics

Death Penalty for Offenses Other Than Murder - State and Federal Laws that allow Capital Punishment when no death has occurred

DPIC's Page on Kennedy v. Louisiana - Striking down the death penalty for non-homicide offenses against individuals

Those Executed Who Did Not Directly Kill the Victim

Aggravating Factors by State - Lists of the factors that could make a defendant eligible for the Death Penalty

Mitigating Factors by State - List of the various state statutes defining mitigating circumstances for their respective jurisdictions -from Terry Lenamon.  See also J. Kirchmeier, "A Tear in Eye of the Law: Mitigating Factors and the Progression Toward a Disease Theory of Criminal Justice," 83 Oregon L. Rev. 631 (2004) (available http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=914180).

State by State Information - Database of State Death Penalty information

Federal Mitigating and Aggravating Factors - Federal Death Penalty statutes mitigating and aggravating factors

Federal Death Penalty - Federal Laws Providing for the Death Penalty

News and Developments - Current Year

News and Developments - Previous Years

2013  2012  2011  2010  2009  2008  2007  2006


The Bureau of Justice Statistics, Capital Punishment 2012, (pub. May 2014) lists the following as capital crimes, by state:


Alabama - Intentional murder with 18 aggravating factors (Ala. Stat. Ann. 13A-5-40(a)(1)-(18)).

Arizona - First-degree murder, including pre-meditated murder and felony murder, accompanied by at least 1 of 14 aggravating factors (A.R.S. § 13-703(F)).

Arkansas - Capital murder (Ark. Code Ann. 5-10-101) with a finding of at least 1 of 10 aggravating circumstances; treason.

California - First-degree murder with special circumstances; sabotage; train wrecking causing death; treason; perjury causing execution of an innocent person; fatal assault by a prisoner serving a life sentence.

Colorado - First-degree murder with at least 1 of 17 aggravating factors; first-degree kidnapping resulting in death; treason.

Connecticut - [Abolished the death penalty in 2012]

Delaware - First-degree murder (11 Del. C. § 636) with at least 1 statutory aggravating circumstance (11 Del. C. § 4209).

Florida - First-degree murder; felony murder; capital drug trafficking; capital sexual battery.

Georgia - Murder with aggravating circumstances; kidnapping with bodily injury or ransom when the victim dies; aircraft hijacking; treason.

Idaho - First-degree murder with aggravating factors; first-degree kidnapping; perjury resulting in the execution of an innocent person.

Illinois - [Abolished the death penalty in 2011]

Indiana - Murder with 16 aggravating circumstances (IC 35-50-2-9).

Kansas - Capital murder with 8 aggravating circumstances (KSA 21-3439, KSA 21-4625, KSA 21-4636).

Kentucky - Capital murder with the presence of at least one statutory aggravating circumstance; capital kidnapping (KRS 532.025).

Louisiana - First-degree murder; treason (La. R.S. 14:30 and 14:113).

Maryland - [Abolished the death penalty in 2013]

Mississippi - Capital murder (Miss. Code Ann. § 97-3-19(2)); aircraft piracy (Miss. Code Ann. § 97-25-55(1)).

Missouri - First-degree murder (565.020 RSMO 2000).

Montana - Capital murder with 1 of 9 aggravating circumstances (Mont. Code Ann. § 46-18-303); aggravated kidnapping; felony murder; aggravated sexual intercourse without consent (Mont. Code Ann. § 45-5-503).

Nebraska - First-degree murder with a finding of at least 1 statutorily-defined aggravating circumstance.

Nevada - First-degree murder with at least 1 of 15 aggravating circumstances (NRS 200.030, 200.033, 200.035).

New Hampshire - Murder committed in the course of rape, kidnapping, drug crimes, or burglary; killing of a police officer, judge or prosecutor; murder for hire; murder by an inmate while serving a sentence of life without parole (RSA 630:1, RSA 630:5).

New Mexico - [abolished the death penalty in 2009]

New York* - [New York abolished the death penalty in 2007]

North Carolina - First-degree murder (NCGS §14-17) with the finding of at least 1 of 11 statutory aggravating circumstances (NCGS §15A-2000).

Ohio - Aggravated murder with at least 1 of 10 aggravating circumstances (O.R.C. secs. 2903.01, 2929.02, and 2929.04).

Oklahoma - First-degree murder in conjunction with a finding of at least 1 of 8 statutorily-defined aggravating circumstances.

Oregon - Aggravated murder (ORS 163.095).

Pennsylvania - First-degree murder with 18 aggravating circumstances.

South Carolina - Murder with 1 of 12 aggravating circumstances (§ 16-3-20(C)(a))

South Dakota - First-degree murder with 1 of 10 aggravating circumstances.

Tennessee - First-degree murder (Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-202) with 1 of 16 aggravating circumstances (Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-204).

Texas - Criminal homicide with 1 of 9 aggravating circumstances (Tex. Penal Code § 19.03).

Utah - Aggravated murder (76-5-202, Utah Code Annotated).

Virginia - First-degree murder with 1 of 15 aggravating circumstances (VA Code § 18.2-31).

Washington - Aggravated first-degree murder.

Wyoming - First-degree murder; murder during the commission of sexual assault, sexual abuse of a minor, arson, robbery, burglary, escape, resisting arrest, kidnapping, or abuse of a minor under 16. (W.S.A. § 6-2-101(a))


*The New York Court of Appeals held that a portion of New York’s death penalty sentencing statute (CPL 400.27) was unconstitutional (see People v. Taylor, 9 N.Y.3d 129 (2007) (applying ruling to remaining inmates on death row). The legislature has rejected efforts to revise the statute and restore the death penalty.