Capital Offenses

A capital offense is any criminal charge which is punishable by the death penalty. Crimes punishable by death vary from state to state. In some states, these offenses include: first degree murder (premeditated), murder with special circumstances, and the federal crime of treason. Under Maryland law, a person convicted of first degree murder can be sentenced to death, life without parole (a sentence to prison for the defendant's “natural life”), or life in prison with the possibility of parole. The court or jury imposing the sentence must weigh aggravating and mitigating factors to decide which penalty to impose. On October 1, 2009, legislation limited the cases in which the court or jury could impose a death sentence to those in which the state presents the following types of evidence:

  1. Biological or DNA evidence that links the defendant to the murder;
  2. A videotaped, voluntary interrogation and confession of the defendant to the murder; or
  3. A video recording that conclusively links the defendant to the murder.

The 2009 act also specifically prohibited the death penalty if the state relies solely on eyewitness evidence.

If there is a possibility that you or someone you love has been or will be charged with a capital offense, call the Law Office of Warren A. Brown for a CONFIDENTIAL CONSULTATION at 410-685-4900 or take a moment to complete our confidential and secure FREE CONSULTATION intake form. The additional details you provide will greatly assist us in responding to your inquiry.