Capital punishment collection
Scope and Contents
- circa 1901-1960
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
From the Indiana Public Defender Council
"In Indiana, the death penalty is available only for the crime of murder, and is available for murder only if the prosecution can prove the existence of at least one of 16 “aggravating circumstances” identified by the Indiana General Assembly. These circumstances are set out in the state’s death penalty statute, at IC 35-50-2-9. In order to seek the death penalty, the prosecutor must allege the existence of at least one of the aggravating circumstances set out in the statute.
If the case proceeds to trial, and the defendant is convicted of murder, the trial proceeds to a second phase to determine the appropriate penalty. The jury hears evidence regarding the existence of the alleged aggravating circumstance(s) and any mitigating circumstances – facts which would lead them to recommend a lesser sentence. They are required to return a special verdict form indicating whether they unanimously find the existence of each charged statutory aggravating circumstance beyond a reasonable doubt. They are not allowed to recommend that the defendant be sentenced to death or life without parole unless they unanimously find that the state has proved the existence of at least one alleged aggravating circumstance beyond a reasonable doubt, and also find that the aggravating circumstance(s) outweigh the mitigating circumstances. If the jury unanimously agrees on their sentencing "recommendation," the trial court must follow it. If they cannot agree on the sentence, but unanimously agree that an aggravating circumstance exists, the Court is free to sentence the defendant to either a term of years, life without parole, or death.
If a death sentence is imposed, it may be subjected to three levels of appellate review: Direct appeal in the Indiana Supreme Court, focusing on legal issues; state post-conviction review, which can also look at factual issues such as whether trial counsel competently represented the defendant, whether evidence was suppressed, and whether any witnesses have recanted their testimony; and federal habeas corpus review, which focuses on federal constitutional issues. A prisoner may also request clemency from the Governor. The first level of review – direct appeal – is mandatory, but the prisoner may choose to forego the others.
If a prisoner is executed, the State of Indiana will strap him or her to a gurney, insert an IV line, and inject into that line a series of three chemicals: (1) sodium thiopental, an ultra-short-acting barbiturate, to render him or her unconscious; (2) pancuronium bromide, to paralyze voluntary and reflex muscles; and (3) potassium chloride, to stop his or her heart. Defense attorneys and others have raised concerns that the dosage of sodium thiopental may be inadequate or may wear off too quickly, and that the pancuronium bromide, which renders the prisoner unable to move or speak, may mask signs of consciousness and excruciating pain. The U.S. Supreme Court recently reviewed Kentucky’s use of this protocol. Baze v. Rees, 128 S.Ct. 1520 (2008). In an opinion with four concurrences and a dissent, the plurality acknowledged that if the first drug were not administered in an adequate quantity, a prisoner could suffer excruciating pain. However, the Court held that absent a showing of substantial risk that the first drug would not be administered in an adequate quantity, the protocol does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment. More recently, states have had difficulty obtaining sodium betrothal for use in lethal injections, and some have changed the drugs that they use. It remains to be seen what Indiana will do if another execution is scheduled."
"Capital punishment". Sept. 10, 2013. http://legal-dictionary.thefree dictionary.com
"Death penalty facts". Sept. 10, 2013. http://www.in.gov/ipdc/general/indianadpfactsheet.pdf
0.01 Cubic Feet (2 folders)
- Capital punishment collection
- Description rules