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Which Cases Can Receive Capital Punishment?


Although it has seen much opposition over the years, 25 states, including Georgia, utilize capital punishment or the death penalty for certain crimes. While this conviction is relatively uncommon, it is important to understand which offenses can result in this punishment.

Types of Capital Offenses

There are three types of crimes in Georgia that qualify for the death penalty: treason, aircraft hijacking, and murder. All three are considered federal crimes and, in most cases, have aggravating factors in qualifying for the death penalty.

  • Treason is an attempt to overthrow the government and/or attempt to kill the head of state. In most modernized countries, this is considered a federal offense punishable by death.
  • Aircraft hijacking is the unlawful seizure of a plane and forcing the pilot to fly to a hijacker's demands.
  • Murder is the taking of human life. There are varying degrees of murder, but not all result in capital punishment.

Aggravating Factors

When sentencing someone to capital punishment, the court will take into account if any aggravating factors are present. These factors can include:

  • Repeat offenders: for example, since not all murder convictions result in capital punishment, committing this crime more than once can escalate the charge.
  • Victim Involved: If the victim is a federal employee or government official, an essential worker on the job, a child, or impaired by some mental or physical disability.
  • Monetary Involvement: murder-for-hire schemes often fall under capital punishment.

These are just a few of what can be considered aggravating factors in Georgia.

What to Do if Charged

If you are charged with a capital offense, an experienced Atlanta criminal defense attorney can provide you with the best representation. Nick Lotito & Seth Kirschenbaum have a combined six decades of criminal law experience, including time as prosecutors. They will fight tirelessly for your freedom and will go above and beyond to protect your rights.

Schedule a free consultation by calling (404) 471-3177 to examine your case.

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