Indiana to Resume Executions: What’s Next for the Death Penalty?

Indianapolis, Indiana – In a significant development, Governor Eric Holcomb and Attorney General Todd Rokita jointly announced their intention to resume executions in state prisons. This decision comes after years of legal challenges and difficulties in obtaining the necessary lethal injection drugs. Here’s what you need to know:


Indiana has not carried out an execution in 15 years, but the recent acquisition of pentobarbital, a drug used for lethal injections, has changed the landscape. The state’s death penalty statute allows for capital punishment only in cases of murder, provided the prosecution can prove the existence of at least one of 18 “aggravating circumstances” identified by the Indiana General Assembly.

Death penalty

The Death Penalty Process

  1. Aggravating Circumstances: To seek the death penalty, the prosecutor must allege the presence of one or more of these aggravating circumstances. These factors guide the sentencing decision in capital cases.
  2. Trial and Conviction: If the case proceeds to trial and the defendant is convicted of murder, the sentencing phase begins.
  3. Sentencing Decision: The jury or judge determines the appropriate penalty based on the evidence presented during the trial. The death penalty is not automatic; it requires a separate deliberation.
  4. Appeals and Challenges: The defendant has the right to appeal the sentence, leading to a lengthy process involving multiple levels of review.
  5. Execution: If all appeals are exhausted and the sentence stands, the execution date is set. The method of execution in Indiana is lethal injection.

Public Opinion and Legal Challenges

While some states have abolished the death penalty, Indiana remains committed to its use. However, public opinion on capital punishment varies, and legal challenges continue. Advocates argue for its deterrent effect, while opponents highlight concerns about wrongful convictions and racial disparities in sentencing.

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