Roanoke Capital Case Attorney Fighting For The Lives Of The Accused
There is nothing more serious than being accused of murder–especially in Virginia. There is no room for mistakes when you are facing capital murder charges. It’s imperative to hire a seasoned capital case attorney instead of putting your life in the hands of an inexperienced lawyer.
Seth C. Weston is a skilled death sentence criminal defense attorney who is ready to help you. Contact the Law Office of Seth C. Weston, PLC today to take the first step towards fighting for your freedom.
What Are Capital Cases?
Capital cases are those in which the defendant is sentenced to death if he is found guilty at trial. Because the defendant’s life is at risk, these cases are extremely complex.
Does Virginia Have the Death Penalty?
Some states have abolished the death penalty, but Virginia is not one of them. In fact, Virginia has a reputation for aggressively using the death penalty. In Virginia, defendants may face the death penalty if they are convicted of capital murder as long as they are over the age of 18.
What is Capital Murder?
Certain murders are considered “capital murders” in Virginia, which means they are punishable by death. A defendant can face capital murder charges for killing someone while committing robbery, attempted robbery, rape, abduction, forcible sodomy, or object sexual penetration.
Killing certain law enforcement officials is also capital murder if the crime was committed in order to prevent the victim from performing his duties. Killing someone under the age of 14 is capital murder as well, however, this only applies in cases where the defendant is over the age of 21.
Hiring someone to kill another person on your behalf is capital murder, too. Defendants can also face capital murder charges for killing more than one person in the same act or over a three-year period.
These are just some of the many examples of capital murder in Virginia. Each of these crimes is unique, but they have one thing in common.
All capital murders are intentional and premeditated, meaning they were planned in advance before they were carried out. The fact a murder occurs in the heat of the moment may be a defense to premeditation, so it is important that you hire Seth C. Weston to help develop your defense.
How Do Death Penalty Trials Work?
There are two stages of a death penalty trial: the initial criminal trial and the sentencing stage. During the criminal trial, the jury will hear both sides of the case and use this information to determine whether or not the defendant is guilty of capital murder.
If the jury returns a not guilty verdict, the defendant is free to go and will not face legal penalties. But, if the defendant is found guilty, the case moves to the sentencing stage.
During the sentencing stage, the jury must decide what penalty to impose upon the defendant. The death penalty is only used when one of the following conditions has been proven in court:
- The defendant’s actions or history of criminal activity show that he is likely to commit another violent crime in the future.
- The nature of the murder was outrageously vile, horrible, or inhuman, and thus the defendant deserves the death penalty.
If one of these conditions is not proven the jury must sentence the defendant to life in prison.
Can the Death Penalty Be Overturned?
The fight for a defendant’s life is not over once he is sentenced to death by a jury of his peers. Defendants that are sentenced to death are given an automatic appeal to the Supreme Court of Virginia. During this appeal, the defense is allowed to argue why the verdict and the death sentence should be appealed.
Neither side is allowed to introduce new evidence during this stage of the appeals process. If the Supreme Court agrees that an error was made during the trial, they may decide to reverse the verdict and overturn the death penalty sentence.
This is not the only opportunity that a defendant has to appeal to the death sentence. Defendants can also file a state habeas corpus review to introduce new evidence or claims that may convince the court to overturn the death penalty. There are no guarantees that these appeals will be successful, but it is possible to overturn a death sentence. Working with a capital case lawyer can be crucial to achieve such a result.
Discuss Your Case With A Death Penalty Attorney in Roanoke, VA Today
Have you been accused of capital murder? If so, there’s no time to waste with your life on the line. Seek legal representation from the Law Office of Seth C. Weston, PLC as soon as possible.
Seth C. Weston is uniquely qualified and experienced to defend your death penalty case and will work tirelessly to reach the best possible outcome for your case. To schedule a free consultation with our team, call 540-384-4585 or fill out the brief form on our website.