Capital punishment in Idaho

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Capital punishment is a legal penalty in the U.S. state of Idaho.

Legal process[edit]

When the prosecution seeks the death penalty, the sentence is decided by the jury and must be unanimous.

In case of a hung jury during the penalty phase of the trial, a life sentence is issued, even if a single juror opposed death (there is no retrial).[1]

The power of clemency belongs to the Idaho Commission of Pardons and Parole.[2]

Men on death row are incarcerated in Boise, and women in Pocatello.[3] Lethal injection is the only method of execution authorized by statutes.[4]

Capital crimes[edit]

First-degree murder can punished with death if it involves any of the following aggaravating factors:[5]

  1. The defendant was previously convicted of another murder.
  2. At the time the murder was committed the defendant also committed another murder.
  3. The defendant knowingly created a great risk of death to many persons.
  4. The murder was committed for remuneration or the promise of remuneration or the defendant employed another to commit the murder for remuneration or the promise of remuneration.
  5. The murder was especially heinous, atrocious or cruel, manifesting exceptional depravity.
  6. By the murder, or circumstances surrounding its commission, the defendant exhibited utter disregard for human life.
  7. The murder was committed in the perpetration of, or attempt to perpetrate, arson, rape, robbery, burglary, kidnapping or mayhem and the defendant killed, intended a killing, or acted with reckless indifference to human life.
  8. The murder was committed in the perpetration of, or attempt to perpetrate, an infamous crime against nature, lewd and lascivious conduct with a minor, sexual abuse of a child under 16 years of age, ritualized abuse of a child, sexual exploitation of a child, sexual battery of a minor child 16 or 17 years of age, or forcible sexual penetration by use of a foreign object, and the defendant killed, intended a killing, or acted with reckless indifference to human life.
  9. The defendant, by his conduct, whether such conduct was before, during or after the commission of the murder at hand, has exhibited a propensity to commit murder which will probably constitute a continuing threat to society.
  10. The murder was committed against a former or present peace officer, executive officer, officer of the court, judicial officer or prosecuting attorney because of the exercise of official duty or because of the victim's former or present official status.
  11. The murder was committed against a witness or potential witness in a criminal or civil legal proceeding because of such proceeding.

Idaho statutes also provides the death penalty for aggravated kidnapping and perjury causing execution of an innocent person.

History and methods[edit]

Idaho executed 14 men, all by hanging, before its admission to the Union in 1890. Another 12 men were executed, again by hanging, between that time and 1957. Idaho has never executed a woman.[6] There were no executions between 1957 and 1972,[7] when the United States Supreme Court decision Furman v. Georgia struck down all death penalty statutes across the United States and created an effective moratorium on executions.

Idaho passed new statutes on July 7, 1973,[8] and the 1976 case Gregg v. Georgia lifted the moratorium. Firing squad was the state's sole method of execution between that time and the 1978 adoption of lethal injection[9] as a second option. In 2009 the firing squad option was removed, Idaho having never executed an inmate by that method. This left lethal injection as the sole execution method.[10]

Individuals executed by Idaho since 1976[edit]

No. Name Date of Execution Method of Execution Victim(s) Governor
1 Keith Wells January 6, 1994 Lethal injection John Justad and Brandi Rainsn Cecil D. Andrus
2 Paul Ezra Rhoades November 18, 2011 Christine Gallegos, Carla Maxwell, Lisa Strong, Stacy Baldwin, Nolan Haddon and Susan Michelbacher Butch Otter
3 Richard Albert Leavitt June 12, 2012 Danette Jean Elg

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Idaho Statutes § 19-2515
  2. ^ "Section 7. THE PARDONING POWER.". Retrieved December 13, 2016. 
  3. ^ "Death Row | Idaho Department of Correction". Retrieved 2016-07-21. 
  4. ^ "Section 19-2716 - INFLICTION OF DEATH PENALTY.". Retrieved December 13, 2016. 
  5. ^ Idaho statutes § 19-2515
  6. ^ Regional Studies at the Wayback Machine (archived October 16, 2009)
  7. ^ "First Idaho Execution in 36 Years". The New York Times. Retrieved 2016-07-21. 
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-05-23. Retrieved 2015-06-15. 
  9. ^ Deborah W. Denno. "Articles : Lethal Injection Chaos Post-Baze" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-07-21. 
  10. ^ "Methods of Execution | Death Penalty Information Center". Retrieved 2016-07-21. 

External links[edit]