Since the U.S Supreme Court permitted capital punishment to resume in 1976, the state of Virginia has executed a total of 112 individuals. These people were all convicted of capital murder and their executions took place after 1982. Virginia is currently only behind Oklahoma (112 since 1990) and Texas (539), but the Commonwealth has the distinction of having carried out the most executions throughout its entire history than any other state.
If you have been charged with a serious crime in Virginia that could lead to the death penalty, contact a Roanoke violent crimes attorney from Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico immediately. Time is of the essence and aggressive legal representation may make all difference in your future.
Call (540) 343-9349 to discuss your case with a veteran criminal defense lawyer.
Virginia Execution Laws
Virginia allows for execution in cases involving cruel murders and some other serious crimes. Cruel murders are usually capital murders, which are the most serious offenses that can be committed in the state and come with the possibility of a death sentence or at best, life in prison.
To qualify as a capital murder, the crime must have been willful, deliberate, and involve the premeditated killing of another person. Those condemned for execution in Virginia can choose to carry out the sentence with a lethal injection or electrocution.
How an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help
While there is no adequate way to quantify the dejection, you may feel if a death sentence is handed down, it is important to remember that you may still have options within the criminal justice system. A dedicated criminal defense attorney will pursue every available option to avoid this result in the first place, but if necessary, your lawyer will work zealously towards appealing the decision or having your sentence commuted to secure your freedom and save your life.
Clemency for Ivan Teleguz
On April 20, 2017, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe granted clemency to Ivan Teleguz, who was scheduled to be executed on April 25, but will instead serve a life sentence without parole. The decision to commute his sentence was largely based on recently uncovered evidence that indicated the prosecution used false evidence of another murder allegedly committed by Teleguz to influence the jury and obtain a death sentence.
According to a statement issued by Governor McAuliffe, “In arguing for the death penalty, the prosecutor made explicit reference to this evidence in arguing that Mr. Teleguz was so dangerous that he needed to be put to death. We now know that no such murder occurred, much less with any involvement by Mr. Teleguz. To allow a sentence to stand based on false information and speculation is a violation of the very principles of justice our system holds dear.”
Teleguz still maintains his innocence and with help from several political, religious, and business leaders, his legal counsel effectively preserved his life and his hope for release. Things that otherwise would have been impossible after April 25.
Consult a Roanoke Violent Crimes Attorney Today
If you are facing a charge as serious as murder, it’s essential to seek advice from a highly skilled Roanoke violent crimes attorney. At Copenhaver, Ellett & Derrico, we have the experience and the resources to handle every aspect of your murder case. We’ll investigate the evidence and design a solid defense strategy that may help you avoid the harshest of penalties that exist.
Call (540) 343-9349 today to schedule a free and confidential consultation.