We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Capital Case?

By G. Wiesen
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
MyLawQuestions is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At MyLawQuestions, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A capital case is a legal case in which a defendant is accused of committing a capital offense and is potentially eligible for capital punishment. Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is a ruling in which a convicted criminal is sentenced to be put to death and is typically regarded as the harshest judgment that can be handed down. Though capital offenses may vary among countries, and even different states or territories within a country, they are crimes that when committed can result in a person receiving capital punishment.

In the United States, federal law decrees certain crimes as capital offenses and the trying of such crimes typically constitutes a capital case. These can include premeditated or first degree murder, murder of public officials of the federal government such as politicians and federal agents, as well as treason. Individual state laws can also involve capital offenses, and a number of states allow capital punishment. Many of the state capital offense laws involve similar acts as federal laws, such as premeditated murder, murder while committing another crime, certain crimes against minors, and murder of a law enforcement agent.

A capital case is often considered among the most serious cases that a person can defend against, as the crime is usually especially heinous and the verdict can be dire. Some lawyers choose to specialize in defending such cases, and this can be from a sense of disagreement with the use of capital punishment. Capital punishment and the means of execution have been sources of debate among legal professionals, politicians, and citizens for decades, all across the world. Many countries that still utilize capital punishment sometimes come under criticism from other nations to abolish the death penalty or at least reduce its use.

The means of execution for someone convicted in a capital case can vary from country to country, and even between states. Some places use lethal injection, in which a person is injected with drugs that have a fatal reaction within the human body. In other regions, hanging and beheading are still used as forms of capital punishment, though the trend over the last century has been a decline in the use of execution as a criminal punishment. Those who argue for the use of capital punishment insist that it serves as a deterrent and reduces the costs of incarcerating long-term prisoners. Others who decry the use of execution in conviction from a capital case point to evidence showing little deterrence in regions that employ capital punishment, as well as the potential for wrongful death of someone who was erroneously convicted.

MyLawQuestions is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By anon289180 — On Sep 03, 2012

So we're all equal before the law apart from politicians and federal agents; they are much more important than regular joes.

By jennythelib — On May 19, 2011

@dfoster85 - Maybe an individual death penalty case is more expensive, but I wonder if there's any data comparing the overall cost of murder cases in states with the death penalty with the cost in states that do not have the death penalty. What I'm thinking is that the existence of the death penalty may make plea deals possible in murder cases, and plea bargains save a lot of money. "Confess, and you'll get life in prison. Make us put on a whole expensive trial, and we'll seek the death penalty."

By dfoster85 — On May 17, 2011

My problem with capital punishment cases is that they are so expensive to try. What with the initial trial, the appeals, the court-appointed lawyer, etc., it costs more than life in prison. (Some researchers argue the opposite, but it seems like most agree that it is more expensive.) When you consider how long the process takes and that prison probably takes a toll on one's health, is the cost really worth it to shave a few miserable years off someone's life?

MyLawQuestions, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

MyLawQuestions, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.