Execution as a form of punishment for particularly heinous crimes is referred to as capital punishment, or "the death penalty," which remains legal in most states. Typically, capital punishment is reserved only for those who commit first-degree murder, especially where there is a lack of remorse or a pattern of cruelty. One exception is the commission of a murder (even if unintentional) while committing another felony, such as burglary. Most states use lethal injection for executions, although the difficulty in accessing lethal drugs has led some states to switch back to hanging, electric chair, or other methods.
Policies concerning the death penalty in the United States have changed quite a bit, from regular hangings in the 19th century to an increase in statewide moratoriums in the late 20th century. The federal government banned capital punishment in 1976 after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Georgia's death penalty statute was too arbitrary. But then the Court reinstated it (Gregg v. Georgia ) shortly thereafter, providing a legal benchmark for states that choose to use the death penalty.
It remains a controversial punishment in the U.S. and around the world, as virtually all industrialized nations except the U.S. prohibit the practice.
North Dakota Capital Punishment Laws at a Glance
North Dakota once carried out death sentences via public hangings, up until the state's first private hanging in 1905. That would also be the last execution in North Dakota, although capital punishment would remain technically legal until its abolition in 1947.
See FindLaw's Death Penalty section for more articles and resources.
|Ch. 12-50 repealed by N.D. Laws Ch. 116 §41
|Is Capital Punishment Allowed?
|No (abolished in 1947)
|Effect of Defendant's Incapacity
|Available for Crimes Other than Homicide?
|Definition of Capital Homicide
|Method of Execution
Note: State laws may change at any time, usually through the enactment of new legislation but sometimes in response to higher court decisions or other means. While we strive to ensure the accuracy of these pages, you also may want to contact a North Dakota criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
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North Dakota Capital Punishment Laws: Related Resources