List of punishments for murder in the United States

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Murder, as defined in common law countries, is the unlawful killing of another human being with intent (or malice aforethought), and generally this state of mind distinguishes murder from other forms of unlawful homicide (such as manslaughter). As the loss of a human being inflicts enormous grief upon the individuals close to the victim, as well as the fact that the commission of a murder permanently deprives the victim of their existence, most societies both present and in antiquity have considered it a most serious crime worthy of the harshest of punishment. Typically a convicted murder suspect is given a life sentence or even the death penalty for such an act. The word murder is related, in old English, to the French word mordre (bite) in reference to the heavy compensation one must pay for causing an unjust death.[1] A person who commits murder is called a murderer ;[2] the term murderess, meaning a woman who murders, has largely fallen into disuse.[3]

Federal[edit]

Civilian[edit]

Source:[4]

Offense Mandatory sentencing
Second degree murder Imprisonment for life or any other term

(There is no federal parole for murder, sentencing guidelines: 19–25 years with clean record, 30–life with serious past offenses)

Second degree murder by an inmate, even escaped, serving a life sentence Life Imprisonment
First degree murder Death penalty or life imprisonment

Military[edit]

Source:[5]

Offense Mandatory sentencing
Murder under UCMJ Article 118 Clause (2) or (3) Any legal punishment (other than death) as directed by the court-martial
Murder under UCMJ Article 118 Clause (1) or (4) Death penalty or life imprisonment

District of Columbia[edit]

Source:[6][7]

Offense Mandatory sentencing
Second degree murder 20–40 years (parole eligibility: one-third of sentence)
Second degree murder with aggravating circumstance Between 20 years and life (parole eligibility: one-third of sentence, or 15 years if life sentence is imposed)
First degree murder 30–60 years (parole eligibility: 30 years)
First degree murder with aggravating circumstance Between 30 years and life without parole (parole eligibility: 30 years if life without parole is not imposed)
Murder of a law enforcement officer Life without parole

By states[edit]

Alabama[edit]

Offense Mandatory sentencing
Murder Not less than 10 years and no more than 99 years, or life
Capital Murder Death penalty or life without parole

Alaska[edit]

Source:[8]

Offense Mandatory sentencing
Second degree murder 10-99 years
First degree murder or murder of an unborn child 20-99 years
First degree murder with aggravating factor 99 years

Arizona[edit]

Source:[9]

Offense Mandatory sentencing
First degree murder Death penalty, Life without parole, or Life with parole in 25 years
Second degree murder Not less than 10 years nor more than 29 years
Manslaughter imprisonment up to 12.5 years in prison for a first offense
Negligent homicide imprisonment of up to 3.75 years for a first offense

Arkansas[edit]

Offense Mandatory sentencing
Capital murder Death or Life without parole
First degree murder 10–40 years or Life without parole
Second degree murder 6–30 years

California[edit]

Source:[10]

Offense Mandatory sentencing
Second degree murder 15 years to life
Second degree murder using a firearm from a motor vehicle 20 years to life
Second degree murder by an offender previously convicted of murder (First or Second Degree) 15 years to life or life without parole
Second degree murder of a law enforcement officer 25 years to life
First degree murder 25 years to life
First degree murder constituting a hate crime or of an operator or driver Life without parole
First degree murder with special circumstance Death penalty or life without parole

Colorado[edit]

Offense Mandatory sentencing
Second degree murder 8–24 years
First degree murder Death penalty or life without parole

Connecticut[edit]

Offense Mandatory sentencing
Murder (1st Degree) Life in prison without the possibility of parole and a fine of $250,000.00
Murder (2nd Degree) Life in prison without the possibility of parole and a fine of $250,000.00
Murder (3rd Degree) 25 years to 50 years in prison and a fine of $100,000.00
Voluntary Manslaughter (1st Degree) Life in prison without the possibility of parole and a fine of $250,000.00
Voluntary Manslaughter (2nd Degree) Life in prison without the possibility of parole and a fine of $250,000.00
Voluntary Manslaughter (3rd Degree) 25 years to 50 years in prison and a fine of $100,000.00
Involuntary Manslaughter 10 years to 15 years in prison and a fine of $50,000
Aiding and Abetting Suicide 11 years to 25 years in prison and a fine of $50,000.00

Delaware[edit]

Offense Mandatory sentencing
First degree murder Death or Life Without Parole
Second degree murder 25 years to Life in prison

Florida[edit]

Source:[11][12]

Offense Mandatory sentencing
Manslaughter Maximum of 15 years in prison; maximum of 30 years in prison if a firearm is used
Aggravated manslaughter of a child Maximum of 30 years in prison; maximum could be enhanced to life in prison if a firearm is used
Third degree murder Maximum of 15 years in prison; maximum of 30 years in prison if a firearm is used plus a mandatory minimum of 25 years
Second degree murder Maximum of life in prison; Minimum of 25 years if a firearm is used, otherwise a minimum of 10 years under sentencing guidelines for a person with a clean record.
First degree murder Death penalty or life without parole

Georgia[edit]

Offense Mandatory sentencing
Murder Death, Life without parole, or Life with parole eligibility in 30 years

Hawaii[edit]

Offense Mandatory sentencing
First degree murder Life without the possibility of parole
Second degree murder Life with the possibility of parole after at least 15 years

Idaho[edit]

Illinois[edit]

Offense Mandatory sentencing
First Degree Murder 20-60 years
First Degree Murder w/ aggravating circumstances 60-100 years, life w/ no possibility of parole
Second Degree Murder 4-20 years, 4-year probation

Indiana[edit]

Offense Mandatory sentencing[13]
Murder Between 45 and 65 years
Murder with aggravating circumstances Death penalty or life without parole

Iowa[edit]

Offense Mandatory sentencing
First degree murder Life Imprisonment Without Parole
Second degree murder 50 years mandatory minimum 70% served.
Murder by a Person Previously Convicted of Murder Life Imprisonment Without Parole

Kansas[edit]

Offense Mandatory sentencing
Second degree murder (Intentional) 12.5–54 years
Second degree murder (Unintentional) 9–41 years
First degree murder Life (parole after 25 years or 50 years in aggravating circumstances)
Capital Murder Death, Life without parole, or Life (parole after 25 or 50 years)

Kentucky[edit]

Offense: Mandatory sentencing
Murder Death Penalty, Life Without Parole, Life with parole eligibility in 25 years, Life with parole eligibility in 20 years, or 20 to 50 years

Louisiana[edit]

Offense Mandatory sentencing
First degree murder Death or life without parole
Second degree murder Life without parole

Maine[edit]

Source:[14]

Offense Mandatory sentencing
Murder Life without parole or not less than 25 years

Maryland[edit]

Offense Mandatory sentencing
Second degree murder Not more than 30 years
First degree murder Life without parole, or 25 years to Life

Massachusetts[edit]

Offense Mandatory sentencing
Second degree murder Life in prison with parole (after 15 years served)
First degree murder Life without parole

Michigan[edit]

Source:[15]

Offense Mandatory sentencing
Second degree murder 15 years to life or any number of years
First degree murder Life without parole

Minnesota[edit]

Offense Mandatory sentencing
First degree murder Life without parole or life with parole eligibility after 30 years
Second degree murder Maximum of 40 years
Third degree murder Maximum of 25 years

Mississippi[edit]

Offense Mandatory sentencing
Capital murder Death, Life without parole, or Life with parole in 10 years
Murder Life (no parole for at least 10 years)

Missouri[edit]

Offense Mandatory sentencing
Second degree murder 10–30 years or Life without parole
First degree murder Death or Life without parole

Montana[edit]

Offense Mandatory sentencing
Mitigated Deliberate Homicide 2-40 years
Deliberate Homicide Death, Life without parole, or 10-100 years

Nebraska[edit]

Offense Mandatory sentencing
Second degree murder 20 years to life
First degree murder Death or Life (No parole)

Nevada[edit]

Offense Mandatory sentencing
First degree murder Death (aggravating circumstances), Life without parole, 20 years to Life or 20 to 50 years
Second degree murder 10 years to Life or 10 to 25 years

New Hampshire[edit]

Source:[16]

Offense Mandatory sentencing
Second degree murder Imprisonment for life or any other term
First degree murder Life without parole
Capital murder Death penalty or life without parole
Manslaughter Imprisonment for a term of not more than 30 years.
Causing or Aiding Suicide Imprisonment for a term of not less than 20 years to not more than 40 years. (If it's a misdemeanor it's 20 years imprisonment.) [17]
Negligent Homicide Imprisonment for a term of not less than 7 1/2 years and not more than 15 years.

New Jersey[edit]

Offense Mandatory sentencing
Murder Not less than 30 years or Life (minimum 63.75 years)
Murder (with aggravating circumstances) Life without Parole

New Mexico[edit]

Offense Mandatory sentencing
Second Degree Murder 15-20 years
First Degree Murder with no special circumstances Minimum of 30 years
First Degree Murder with special circumstances Life without parole

New York[edit]

Offense Mandatory sentencing
Second Degree Murder 15-25 years to Life
First Degree Murder 20-25 years to life, Life without Parole
Aggravated murder Life without parole

North Carolina[edit]

Offense Mandatory sentencing
Involuntary Manslaughter 10 months to 59 months (depending on prior record level)
Manslaughter 38 months to 204 Months (depending on prior record level)
Second Degree Murder (Inherently Dangerous Act or by unlawful distribution of certain illicit substances) 94 months to 484 months (depending on prior record level)
Second Degree Murder 144 months to Life without Parole (depending on prior record level)
First Degree Murder Death or Life without Parole

North Dakota[edit]

Offense Mandatory sentencing
Murder Life without Parole or 30 years to Life

Ohio[edit]

Ohio differentiates between "Aggravated Murder" and "Murder." Aggravated Murder consists of purposely causing the death of another (or unlawful termination of a pregnancy) with prior calculation and design, or purposely causing the death of another under the age of 13, a law enforcement officer, or in the course of committing certain serious felony offenses. Murder consists of purposely causing the death of another, or causing the death of another as a proximate result of committing certain serious felony offenses.

Offense Mandatory sentencing
Aggravated Murder (with capital specification for certain aggravating factors such as special victims, murder-for-hire, multiple victims, witness as victim, committed in the course of another serious felony offense) Death, Life without Parole, Life with Possibility of Parole after 25 or 30 years
Aggravated Murder Life without Parole, Life with Possibility of Parole after 20, 25, or 30 years
Murder (victim under 13 years old or committed with sexual motivation) 30 years to life
Murder 15 years to life
Voluntary Manslaughter 3 to 11 years
Involuntary Manslaughter 3 to 11 years (if underlying offense is a felony) 9 months to 3 years (if underlying offense is a misdemeanor)

Oklahoma[edit]

Offense Mandatory sentencing
Second Degree Murder Life or not less than 10 years
First Degree Murder Death Penalty, Life without Parole, or Life with parole eligibility after 38 years

Oregon[edit]

Offense Mandatory sentencing
Murder 25 years to Life
Aggravated Murder Death Penalty, Life without Parole, or Life with parole eligibility after 30 years

Pennsylvania[edit]

Offense Mandatory sentence
Third Degree Murder 20-40 years, 5-40 years in the case of person dying from using drugs delivered to them
Second Degree Murder Life (no parole)
First Degree Murder Death Penalty or Life (no parole)

Rhode Island[edit]

Offense Mandatory sentence
Second Degree Murder Life or no less than 10 years
First Degree Murder Life without parole or Life (parole after 15 years)

South Carolina[edit]

Offense Mandatory sentencing
Murder Death, Life without parole, or not less than 30 years in prison

South Dakota[edit]

Offense Mandatory sentencing
Second degree murder 20 years, 25 years or Life Without Parole
First Degree murder Death penalty or Life without parole

Tennessee[edit]

Offense Mandatory sentencing
Second Degree Murder Imprisonment for not less than 15 years nor more than 60.
First Degree Murder Death, Life without parole, or Life with parole eligibility after 35 years

Texas[edit]

Offense Mandatory sentencing[18]
Murder 30 to 99 years or life (minimum 30 years)
Capital murder Death penalty or life imprisonment without parole

Utah[edit]

Offense Mandatory sentencing
Aggravated murder Death penalty, life without parole, or life with parole in 25 years
Murder 15 years-life

Vermont[edit]

Source:[19]

Offense Mandatory sentencing
Second degree murder if mitigating factors outweigh any aggravating factors 10–19 years to life
Second degree murder 144 months to life without parole (depending on the person's record)
Second degree murder if aggravating factors outweigh any mitigating factors Between 20 years to life and life without parole
First degree murder if mitigating factors outweigh any aggravating factors 15–34 years to life
First degree murder 35 years to life
First degree murder if aggravating factors outweigh any mitigating factors Between 35 years to life and life without parole
Aggravated murder Life without parole

Virginia[edit]

Offense Mandatory sentencing
Second degree murder 5–40 years[20]
Second degree murder of a pregnant woman 10–40 years
First degree murder Between 20 years and life imprisonment (parole eligibility for life sentence: 15 years, 25 years if the victim was under the age of 18)
Capital murder Death penalty or life without parole

Washington[edit]

Offense Mandatory sentence
Aggravated first degree murder Death penalty or life without parole
First degree murder Life imprisonment or not less than 25 years
Second degree murder 10 to 18 years imprisonment

West Virginia[edit]

Source:[21]

Offense Mandatory sentencing
Second degree murder 10–40 years
First degree murder Life without parole or 15 years to life

Wisconsin[edit]

Offense Mandatory sentencing
Second degree intentional homicide No more than 60 years
First degree intentional homicide Between 20 years to life and life without parole

Wyoming[edit]

Source:[22]

Offense Mandatory sentencing
Second degree murder Life without parole or not less than 20 years
First degree murder Death penalty or life imprisonment without parole

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Mordre wol out; that se we day by day." - Geoffrey Chaucer (1340–1400), The Canterbury Tales, The Nun’s Priest’s Tale, l. 4242 (1387-1400), repr. In The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, ed. Alfred W. Pollard, et al. (1898).
  2. ^ Definition of murderer in Merriam Webster's Online Dictionary (2009). Retrieved on 2009-05-17.
  3. ^ Usage note for -ess in The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition (2000). Retrieved on 2009-05-17.
  4. ^ "Title 18 - CRIMES AND CRIMINAL PROCEDURE :: 2010 US Code :: US Codes and Statutes :: US Law :: Justia". Law.justia.com. 2011-01-07. Retrieved 2012-08-02. 
  5. ^ "10 USC § 918 - Art. 118. Murder | LII / Legal Information Institute". Law.cornell.edu. Retrieved 2012-08-02. 
  6. ^ "LexisNexis® Legal Resources". Michie.com. Retrieved 2012-08-02. 
  7. ^ "LexisNexis® Legal Resources". Michie.com. Retrieved 2012-08-02. 
  8. ^ "Alaska Statutes: AS 12.55.125. Sentences of Imprisonment For Felonies". Touchngo.com. Retrieved 2012-08-02. 
  9. ^ "Arizona Vehicular Crimes - Phoenix AZ Criminal Lawyers - Gillespie Law Firm". Craiggillespie.com. Retrieved 2012-08-02. 
  10. ^ "CA Codes (pen:187-199)". Leginfo.ca.gov. 1997-01-01. Retrieved 2012-08-02. 
  11. ^ "782.04(2)". Florida legislature. 
  12. ^ Matheny, Eric. "Info on Second Degree Murder in the state of Florida". Eric Matheny Law. 
  13. ^ "Indiana Death Penalty Laws". Clarkprosecutor.org. Retrieved 2012-08-02. 
  14. ^ "§1251 — Imprisonment for murder :: Chapter 51 — SENTENCES OF IMPRISONMENT (§1251 - §1258) :: TITLE 17-A — MAINE CRIMINAL CODE :: 2005 Maine Code :: Maine Code :: US Codes and Statutes :: US Law :: Justia". Law.justia.com. Retrieved 2012-08-02. 
  15. ^ "Michigan Legislature - 328-1931-XLV". Legislature.mi.gov. 2010-10-31. Retrieved 2012-08-02. 
  16. ^ "New Hampshire Statutes - Table of Contents". Gencourt.state.nh.us. Retrieved 2012-08-02. 
  17. ^ "New Hampshire Felony Charges and Penalties by Class". CriminalDefenseLawyer.com. Retrieved 2012-08-02. 
  18. ^ "PENAL CODE CHAPTER 12. PUNISHMENTS". Statutes.legis.state.tx.us. Retrieved 2012-08-02. 
  19. ^ "§ 2303. — Penalties for first and second degree murder :: Chapter 53 — HOMICIDE (contains §§ 2301 – 2311) :: Title 13 — Crimes and Criminal Procedure :: 2005 Vermont Code :: Vermont Code :: US Codes and Statutes :: US Law :: Justia". Law.justia.com. Retrieved 2012-08-02. 
  20. ^ "First and second degree murder defined; punishment". Retrieved 1 August 2012. 
  21. ^ "§61-2-2. — Penalty for murder of first degree. :: CHAPTER 61. — CRIMES AND THEIR PUNISHMENT :: 2005 West Virginia Code :: West Virginia Code :: US Codes and Statutes :: US Law :: Justia". Law.justia.com. Retrieved 2012-08-02. 
  22. ^ "Chapter 2 - Offenses Against The Person :: Title 6 - Crimes And Offenses :: 2010 Wyoming Statutes :: Wyoming Statutes :: US Codes and Statutes :: US Law :: Justia". Law.justia.com. 2010-07-01. Retrieved 2012-08-02. 

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]