How Realistic is Capital Punishment for Drug Dealers?

Can you imagine a future where a high school student could become convicted with the capital crime of selling drugs to other minors? Well, if President Donald Trump has his way that may just become a reality. Obviously, we don’t know if there will be any age limitations on such an ambitious proposal. In any event, the president’s death penalty for convicted drug dealers has a very big uphill battle in front of it.

“If we don’t get tough on the drug dealers, we’re wasting our time,” said President Trump to a group in New Hampshire recently, adding: “That toughness includes the death penalty.”

Death Penalty for Drug Dealers: Details, Facts and Proposals

How Realistic is Capital Punishment for Drug Dealers? | Broomfield Criminal Defense Attorney

How Realistic is Capital Punishment for Drug Dealers? | Broomfield Criminal Defense Attorney

The interesting thing here is that there is already a law on the books that allow for prosecution teams to request the death penalty for drug traffickers. Let’s take a closer look at the law and Trump’s plan:

  • Currently, there are approximately 32 countries around the world that impose capital punishment for criminal offenses involving psychotropic substances and narcotic drugs, including the United States.
  • According to a 2015 article in The Economist, only six of those countries actually carry out death penalties for drug trafficking.
  • In the U.S., however, a criminal prosecution team will only seek the death penalty if large quantities of cocaine, ecgonine, heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide, marijuana, methamphetamine, or phencyclidine (PCP) are involved in the drug trafficking.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court in Kennedy v. Louisiana struck down the death penalty for drug-related crimes that do not result in a victim’s death. The ruling left open the possibility for gang and mob-related drug activities and those “offenses against the State.”
  • Some legal analysts see President Trump’s remarks as a plea for the courts to start enforcing the death penalty for drug trafficking.
  • At the heart of President Trump’s plan is combating the current opioid crisis through funding for educational campaigns directed at reducing demand for drugs, promoting alternative medicinal treatments, and border security to reduce drug smuggling operations coming across the border.1
  • The president’s plan has two big hurdles: 1.) The executive office has no authority over the judicial branch, so it’s hard to see how his agenda can get implemented by executive authority. 2.) The president’s educational arm of the plan to reduce drug trafficking requires Congress to pass legislation allocating funding. Most likely, the president will get some funding for his war on drugs.

What Do Criminal Defense Attorneys Think of President Trump’s Call for The Death Penalty?

There’s no doubt that the opioid epidemic has taken tens of thousands of lives across the country, but is our society ready for what some criminal defense attorneys are essentially calling mass murder? Here are some arguments from criminal defense attorneys:2

  • Enforcing a death penalty for drug traffickers would only serve to undervalue the punishment.
  • Some criminal defense attorneys also say enforcing the death penalty for drug trafficking may have constitutional issues.
  • Other attorneys point to the fact that many states have placed a moratorium on capital punishment.

Contact a Broomfield Drug Crime Defense Attorney at The Datz Law Firm

Even those accused and charged with drug crimes have rights and options for justice. If you need an experienced and knowledgeable legal advocate, contact a Broomfield Drug Crime Defense Attorney with the Datz Law Firm. Our defense attorneys are thorough and relentless in the defense of our clients’ rights. We are committed to getting frivolous charges dropped or reduced in all matters.

To schedule a free, initial consultation, call 720-573-0539 for more information.

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1“Trump: Getting tough on drug dealers ‘includes the death penalty’” published in NBC News, March 2018.

2“Local legal experts skeptical of Trump’s call for death penalty for drug pushers” published in The Daily Astorian, March 2018.