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Montana Capital Punishment Laws

Capital punishment, more commonly referred to as the "death penalty," is reserved for the most serious murder charges.

Montana Law and the Death Penalty

Montana can only impose the death penalty in cases where another person dies. For example, murder of a law enforcement or court official is considered a capital offense. Montana capital punishment laws exempt those who are ruled insane or suffer from "a severe mental disorder or disability that significantly impaired his or her capacity to appreciate the nature, consequences, or wrongfulness of his or her conduct." The law also establishes a minimum age of 18 for executions

The Supreme Court and The Death Penalty

In 2008, the Supreme Court decided that the death penalty would be disproportionate for any offense against an individual that did not involve death of the victim -- basically only murder offenses are reserved for capital punishment.

Method of Execution

The law also changed significantly in 1995 when the state of Montana made lethal injection the sole method of execution. Prior to that date, hanging was the method of execution.

Death Penalty And Clemency

Once an execution date has been set, the defendant may seek clemency from the governor. If clemency is denied -- and if any last-minute motions by the defendant, such as successor motions for appropriate relief, are unsuccessful -- the defendant will be executed by lethal injection.

Learn more about Montana capital punishment laws in the following table. See FindLaw's Death Penalty section for additional articles.

Code Section 45-5-102; 46-18-220; 46-18-301, et seq.; 46-19-101,et seq.; 46-19-201, et seq.
Is Capital Punishment Allowed? Yes. Capital murder with 1 (one) of 9 (nine) aggravating circumstances (Mont. Code Ann. § 46-18-303); aggravated kidnapping; felony murder; aggravated sexual intercourse without consent (Mont. Code Ann. § 45-5-503).
Clemency Process Governor may receive a non-binding recommendation of clemency from a board or advisory group
How is the Sentence Determined? Jury decides on aggravators; Judge decides sentence
Available for Crimes Other than Homicide? No. See Above
Method Lethal Injection
Is Life Without Parole an Option? Yes
Minimum Age 18 years old

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Montana criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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Montana Capital Punishment Laws: Related Resources

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