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Indiana Capital Punishment Laws

Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is a legal sentence under Indiana laws. Since it was reinstated in 1977, a total of 20 people have been executed under Indiana’s capital punishment statutes (as of 2014).

The death penalty remains a controversial topic, reflected in each state's capital punishment laws; and while most states continue to use the death penalty, a growing number of them have enacted moratoriums or legislative bans. Here is a brief introduction to capital punishment laws in Indiana. If you would like more introductory information, you can visit FindLaw’s Capital Punishment and the Death Penalty section to learn more.

Code Section

35-50-2-3; 35-50-2-9; 35-38-6-1, et seq.

Is Capital Punishment Allowed?


Effect of Defendant's Incapacity

Hearing to determine whether defendant has ability to understand proceedings; if ability lacking, court can delay or continue trial; may not impose death sentence if determined mentally retarded

Minimum Age


Available for Crimes Other than Homicide?


Definition of Capital Homicide

Intentional murder while committing/attempting to commit arson, burglary, child molesting, criminal deviate conduct, kidnapping, rape, robbery, carjacking, criminal gang activity dealing in cocaine or narcotic drug; unlawful detonation of explosive with intent to injure; lying in wait; hiring or hired to kill; victim was law enforcement officer, etc.; another conviction of murder; under sentence of life imprisonment and time; victim dismembered; victim less than 12 years old; victim was witness against defendant; has committed another murder at any time regardless of whether convicted; committed murder by firing into an inhabited dwelling or from a vehicle; victim of murder was pregnant and murder resulted in intentional killing of a viable fetus; victim was burned, mutilated or tortured while victim was still alive.

Method of Execution

Lethal injection

While capital punishment remains a hot-button issue in American politics, there has been a steady decline in the use of execution coinciding with a drop in public support of the death penalty. Just 29 people in the U.S. were put to death in 2014, mostly in Florida, Missouri, and Texas. Meanwhile, Connecticut, New Mexico, Oregon, and Pennsylvania have only executed volunteers (death row prisoners who waive their appeals) since capital punishment was reinstituted in 1976. The latest polls show 49 percent of Americans favor the death penalty while 46 percent favor life imprisonment as a criminal sentencing option.

Have Questions About Indiana Capital Punishment Laws? Ask an Attorney

Capital punishment is the more severe sentence available for the most serious of crimes. If you or someone you love has been charged with a capital offense, you can't afford to be without solid legal representation. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in Indiana today to discuss your case and start planning your defense.

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