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Does Missouri still allow the death penalty?

On Behalf of | Oct 6, 2020 | Criminal Defense |

As someone who has been accused of murder and who has their freedoms on the line, one thing you may be wondering is if capital punishment is still used in Missouri. Capital punishment, better known as the death penalty, was first used in Missouri in 1810, and it has been used in hundreds of cases.

Initially, hanging was the method of capital punishment. In 1936, the method changed to lethal gas. Today, lethal injection has been added as an option alongside the potential for using lethal gas.

Putting it frankly, Missouri’s laws do allow for capital punishment, but it is rarely used. Between 2016 and 2019, only three people were executed in the state.

The laws in the state do restrict who can be sentenced to death to those who have committed capital homicides and who are over 16. The Supreme Court has ruled that executing anyone under 18 is unconstitutional, overriding that state law.

It’s important to note that a defendant will not face this severe penalty if it can be shown that they have a mental illness or disease that affects their ability to understand or control their actions. To be sentenced to the death penalty, the defendant has to be certified as being free from mental defects or diseases.

While most people won’t face such a serious penalty, if you are accused of committing a capital homicide, you do need to be cautious about how you proceed with your case. Your attorney will talk to you about the defenses that may work well for you and ways to reduce your risk of facing capital punishment.