law All 41 Crimes Punishable by Death in the US  

Mike Rothschild
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There are 41 crimes punishable by death in US federal law codes. Federal death penalty crimes almost always involve murder committed in some kind of special circumstance, involving protected classes, multiple crimes, or children. There are 62 prisoners on federal death row, and their crimes range from multiple murders to terrorist bombings.

While many crimes punishable by death by the federal government are well-known, others on this capital offenses list are obscure, and have never actually resulted in anyone getting the death penalty. For example, while committing a murder during a hijacking or terrorist attack are capital crimes, so are killing someone on a merchant ship, oil platform, or in the process of wrecking a train. Many of these crimes that send you to death row have never actually been used in court, or resulted in the death penalty.

Here are all 41 federal capital crimes in the United States - whether or not they have resulted in a criminal's death.

Murder Related to the Smugglin... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list All 41 Crimes Punishable by Death in the US
Murder Related to the Smuggling of Aliens

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Destruction of Aircraft or Mot... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list All 41 Crimes Punishable by Death in the US
Destruction of Aircraft or Motor Vehicles Resulting in Death

Murder Committed During a Drug... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list All 41 Crimes Punishable by Death in the US
Murder Committed During a Drug-Related Drive-by Shooting

Murder Committed at an Interna... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list All 41 Crimes Punishable by Death in the US
Murder Committed at an International Airport Suspected LAX shooter Paul Anthony Ciancia will face the death penalty on this charge at his upcoming trial.

Retaliatory Murder of a Family... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list All 41 Crimes Punishable by Death in the US
Retaliatory Murder of a Family Member of Law Enforcement Officials

Civil Rights Offenses Resultin... is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list All 41 Crimes Punishable by Death in the US
Civil Rights Offenses Resulting in Death

Murder of a Member of Congress... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list All 41 Crimes Punishable by Death in the US
Murder of a Member of Congress, Executive Official, or Supreme Court Justice

Espionage is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list All 41 Crimes Punishable by Death in the US
Espionage Ethel and Julius Rosenberg are the only people ever executed in the US for espionage.

Death Resulting from Transport... is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list All 41 Crimes Punishable by Death in the US
Death Resulting from Transportation of Explosives, Destruction of Government Property, or During Foreign Commerce One of the statutes used to execute Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.

Murder with a Firearm During a... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list All 41 Crimes Punishable by Death in the US
Murder with a Firearm During a Drug-Trafficking Offense Used to prosecute numerous high-level drug traffickers.

Murder Committed in a Federal ... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list All 41 Crimes Punishable by Death in the US
Murder Committed in a Federal Government Facility Gulf War veteran Louis Jones was executed for committing murder on an Army base on March 18, 2003.

Genocide is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list All 41 Crimes Punishable by Death in the US
Genocide

First-Degree Murder is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list All 41 Crimes Punishable by Death in the US
First-Degree Murder Most federal death row inmates face the death penalty for first-degree murder.

Murder of a Federal Judge or L... is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list All 41 Crimes Punishable by Death in the US
Murder of a Federal Judge or Law Enforcement Official

Murder of a Foreign Official is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list All 41 Crimes Punishable by Death in the US
Murder of a Foreign Official

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Murder by a Federal Prisoner is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list All 41 Crimes Punishable by Death in the US
Murder by a Federal Prisoner At least six men are currently on federal death row for this.

Murder of a US National in a F... is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list All 41 Crimes Punishable by Death in the US
Murder of a US National in a Foreign Country

Murder by an Escaped Federal P... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list All 41 Crimes Punishable by Death in the US
Murder by an Escaped Federal Prisoner Already Sentenced to Life in Prison Chadrick Fulks is the only prisoner currently on federal death row for this.

Murder of a Law Enforcement Of... is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list All 41 Crimes Punishable by Death in the US
Murder of a Law Enforcement Official Aiding a Federal Investigation Used to hang Robert Suhay and Glenn Applegate in 1938.

Murder During a Kidnapping is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list All 41 Crimes Punishable by Death in the US
Murder During a Kidnapping Victor Feguer, the last exection before the death penalty moratorium, was hanged for this in 1963.

Murder During a Hostage Taking is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list All 41 Crimes Punishable by Death in the US
Murder During a Hostage Taking

Murder of a Juror or Court Off... is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list All 41 Crimes Punishable by Death in the US
Murder of a Juror or Court Officer

Murder with the Intent of Prev... is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list All 41 Crimes Punishable by Death in the US
Murder with the Intent of Preventing Testimony by a Witness So-called "Medicare Murderer" Ronald Mikos is on death row for this.

Retalitory Murder of a Witness... is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list All 41 Crimes Punishable by Death in the US
Retalitory Murder of a Witness, Victim, or Informant Former New Orleans police officer Len Davis is on death row for this.

Mailing of Injurious Material ... is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list All 41 Crimes Punishable by Death in the US
Mailing of Injurious Material with Intent to Kill or Resulting in Death

Assassinating or Kidnapping th... is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list All 41 Crimes Punishable by Death in the US
Assassinating or Kidnapping the President or Vice President

Murder for Hire is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list All 41 Crimes Punishable by Death in the US
Murder for Hire

Murder Involving a Racketeerin... is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list All 41 Crimes Punishable by Death in the US
Murder Involving a Racketeering Offense

Willful Wrecking of a Train Re... is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list All 41 Crimes Punishable by Death in the US
Willful Wrecking of a Train Resulting in Death

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Murder or Kidnapping Resulting... is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list All 41 Crimes Punishable by Death in the US
Murder or Kidnapping Resulting in Death During a Bank Robbery Numerous prisoners are on death row for killing guards during robberies.

Murder Related to a Carjacking is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list All 41 Crimes Punishable by Death in the US
Murder Related to a Carjacking

Murder Related to Rape or Chil... is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list All 41 Crimes Punishable by Death in the US
Murder Related to Rape or Child Molestation Two inmates are on federal death row for rape-related murder.

Murder Related to the Sexual E... is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list All 41 Crimes Punishable by Death in the US
Murder Related to the Sexual Exploitation of a Child

Murder Committed During an Off... is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list All 41 Crimes Punishable by Death in the US
Murder Committed During an Offense Against Maritime Navigation David Joseph Watson is the only inmate to have been executed for this, in 1948.

Murder Committed During an Off... is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list All 41 Crimes Punishable by Death in the US
Murder Committed During an Offense Against a Maritime Fixed Platform

Terrorist Murder of a US Natio... is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list All 41 Crimes Punishable by Death in the US
Terrorist Murder of a US National in Another Country

Murder by the Use of a Weapon ... is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list All 41 Crimes Punishable by Death in the US
Murder by the Use of a Weapon of Mass Destruction Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was sentenced to death under this statute.

Murder Involving Torture is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list All 41 Crimes Punishable by Death in the US
Murder Involving Torture

Treason is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list All 41 Crimes Punishable by Death in the US
Treason Several Japanese-Americans were executed for treason after World War 2.

Murder of a Law Enforcement Of... is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list All 41 Crimes Punishable by Death in the US
Murder of a Law Enforcement Officer Related to a Continuing Criminal Enterprise Juan Raul Garza was executed for this on June 19, 2001.

Death Caused by Aircraft Hijac... is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list All 41 Crimes Punishable by Death in the US
Death Caused by Aircraft Hijacking