The death penalty is in the news lately as our Governor, John Bel Edwards, has called for an end to the death penalty in Louisiana. This is Edwards' first public stance opposing the Louisiana death penalty. He made his views known during his State of the State address given on April 10, 2023.
It is unlikely that the Legislature will abolish the death penalty anytime soon. More than half of the fifty States -- including Louisiana -- still have capital punishment for first-degree murder cases. Despite a potential death sentence, Louisiana still has one of the highest homicide rates in the U.S. The death penalty is only possible in first-degree murder cases.
In this article, the top-rated Louisiana criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Philip B. Adams discuss what first-degree murder is in Louisiana. If you need criminal defense in Caddo Parish or anywhere else in Louisiana, use our Contact Page here.
With respect to homicide, Louisiana divides different types of homicides into traditional levels. There are five levels of homicide in Louisiana which are
Each crime is distinct, with varying elements which the prosecuting attorneys must prove. As required across the country, the government must prove all the elements of an alleged crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Only first-degree murder carries a potential sentence of death.
How is first-degree murder defined?
These are the three basic elements that define first-degree murder in Louisiana:
(1) Killing another human being or inflicting great bodily harm that results in death
(2) With "specific intent" (a willful desire to end a person's life; specific intent is a higher standard than having a general criminal intent) AND
(3) Involving one or more of the following:
As noted, punishment for first-degree murder can be the death penalty if the district attorney calls for it. Otherwise, the punishment is life imprisonment at hard labor with no parole, probation, or suspension of the sentence.
Contact A Louisiana Criminal Defense Attorney Today
For more information, contact the Law Offices of Philip B. Adams today. We are top-rated, relentless, and aggressive Louisiana criminal defense lawyers. Complete our "Contact Us" page here. We have the experience and legal knowledge that you need to protect you in your criminal case. We have offices in Shreveport and handle criminal defense cases throughout all of Louisiana.