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How does the federal death penalty work?

If you face a federal crime in North Carolina, you also face federal penalties, not state penalties. This could mean that a crime you commit that may not result in the death penalty at the state level will be a possible death penalty case at the federal level. This is rare, but it can happen.

In any event, when facing a federal crime, it helps to understand how the system works. When it comes to death penalty cases, the Department of Justice must authorize the case first, according to Pacific Standard Magazine. Then, the U.S. Attorney General makes the final decision whether it may proceed as a death penalty case.

Death penalty case crimes

Most often, death penalty crimes at the federal level involve a murder or death due to your actions while committing another crime. However, there are some situations where death does not have to occur. For example, espionage, treason and trafficking large amounts of drugs into the country may not kill anyone but are all eligible for capital punishment. Kidnapping the President or Vice President also is such a crime. For many crimes, if the intent was to kill but no death occurred, it may still be eligible for the ultimate penalty. These crimes include using the mail system to send malicious articles with the intent to kill or attempting to kill a witness or juror in a continuing criminal enterprise case.

The details

If you go to trial for a federal death penalty case, you will have two defense attorneys. The prosecution is a U.S. attorney. If the jury convicts you, you will go to a prison in Indiana. You will also have one chance to appeal your case.

Facing charges that could lead to capital punishment is a serious situation. You need to be aware that such a case requires a strategic and educated defense.