In North Carolina, certain serious felonies are punishable by capital punishment. Capital punishment under state law is completed by lethal injection. The death penalty has been used in the state since colonial times. Today, it is only used in cases in which another person’s death is caused.
The Supreme Court of the United States ruled in 2009 that capital punishment should only be used in cases that result in the death of the victim. This means that it is primarily reserved for serious murder cases. Under North Carolina law, people who are ruled to be insane or who are deemed to be mentally incapacitated are not eligible for the death penalty. The state sets the minimum age for death-penalty eligibility at 17.
When a person is sentenced to death, he or she can request clemency when a date of execution has been scheduled. If last-minute motions and the clemency request are denied, the person will be executed by lethal injection. In addition to state law, people in North Carolina may be tried for a number of different federal capital offenses. Some examples of these may include murders committed during bank robberies or kidnappings as well as those that are committed as a civil rights offense.
Whether people are charged with federal crimes or state crimes that could be punishable as capital offenses, getting legal help as early as possible may be important. An experienced death penalty lawyer who is experienced with handling serious state and federal felony offenses might understand how to build strong defense cases for his or her clients. A lawyer might conduct an in-depth investigation to uncover witnesses and evidence that might help their client’s case. He or she may also work to gather mitigating evidence that might help him or her to negotiate a plea agreement to a lesser offense or to a sentence other than capital punishment.