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Capital Punishment in Maine
Last updated: June 2018

Introduction

When Maine became a state in 1820, statutes required the death penalty for several offenses. Maine abolished the death penalty in 1876, reestablished it for murder in 1883, and finally abolished it in 1887.

From 1820-1887, this legislative history tracks changes to Maine’s capital punishment laws. After 1887, it provides materials related to proposals to reinstate the death penalty in Maine.





Browse by Statute / Bill / Session Law:  


Year Statute or Bill Amendments Final
Disposition
Effect of Law Legislative Record
Debate & Remarks
Other Documents & News Clips Full LD
History
1821 1821 Statutes:

PL 1821, c. 1
PL 1821, c. 2
PL 1821, c. 3
PL 1821, c. 4
PL 1821, c. 6
PL 1821, c. 7
N/A N/A
Capital punishment for treason, murder, arson, rape, burglary, and robbery N/AN/A N/A
1829 Bill not available

An Act abolishing the punishment of death in certain cases
N/A PL 1829, c. 430 Rape, burglary, and robbery reduced to life imprisonment N/AN/A N/A
1837 HD 38

An Act additional to the several Acts concerning Capital Crimes and to an Act regulating Judicial Process and Proceedings
N/A PL 1837, c. 292 Murderers sentenced to death must be confined to the State Prison for one year before execution N/A Report:  Report of the Committee to Whom Was Referred the Several Memorials and Petitions for the Abolition of Capital Punishment (1835)

Report:  Report of the Committee on Capital Punishment (1836)
N/A
1841 1840 Revised Statutes:

RS 1840, c. 153
RS 1840, c. 154
RS 1840, c. 155
RS 1840, c. 168
N/A N/A Capital punishment for treason, murder, and arson N/AN/A N/A
1844 Bill not available

An Act in addition to chapter one hundred and sixty-eight of the revised statutes, in relation to imprisonment of convicts under sentence of death
N/A PL 1844, c. 101 All persons sentenced to death must be held in solitary confinement and do hard labor until their sentence is carried out N/AN/A N/A
1857 1857 Revised Statutes:

RS 1857, c. 117
RS 1857, c. 118
RS 1857, c. 119
RS 1857, c. 135
N/A N/A Capital punishment for treason, murder, and arson N/AN/A N/A
1869 HD 33

An Act to define and punish murder and to execute sentence in capital cases

HD 92 (Bill printed as amended by the Senate before adoption of Senate "I")
Enacted with amendments:

House "G"
     Amended by Senate "I", "J", "K"
House "H"
Senate "L"
     Amended Senate "I"
PL 1869, c. 72 Governor and Council required to review cases of conviction and death sentence N/A Governor's Address:  Address of Governor Chamberlain to the Legislature (Jan. 1869)

Report:  Report of the Committee on Capital Punishment (1836)
N/A
1871 1871 Revised Statutes:

RS 1871, c. 117
RS 1871, c. 118
RS 1871, c. 119
RS 1871, c. 135
N/A N/A Capital punishment for treason, murder, arson

N/AN/A N/A
1875 HD 63 / HR 201

An act in relation to the execution of sentence in capital cases
Enacted with amendment:

Senate "A"
PL 1875, c. 55 Governor required to issue warrant of execution within 15 months of sentencing N/AN/A N/A
1876 HR 155 (54th Legis. 1875)

New Draft:
HD 11 / HR 193

An Act to abolish the death penalty and to regulate the manner of applying for pardons in certain cases

N/A

PL 1876, c. 114 Death penalty abolished for all crimes N/AN/A N/A
1876 HR 230

An act to amend an act entitled "An act to abolish the death penalty and to regulate the manner of applying for pardons in certain cases," approved February twenty-first, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and seventy-six
N/A PL 1876, c. 132 Amended PL 1876, c. 114: "The provisions of this act shall not apply to offences committed before the same goes into effect." N/AN/A N/A
1883 HD 76

An Act to restore the death penalty for murder in the first degree

SD 75 (Bill printed as amended by the House)


Enacted with amendments:

House "B"
House "C"
House "D"
House "E"
House "F"
House "G"
PL 1883, c. 205 Reestablishes the death penalty for murder in the first degree N/AN/A N/A
1883 Bill not available

An Act supplementary to "An Act to restore the death penalty for murder in the first degree," approved March thirteen, eighteen hundred and eighty-three
N/A PL 1883, c. 247 Removes the death penalty for arson and treason N/A Other:  House Order (House Journal, March 13, 1883) N/A
1883 1883 Revised Statutes:

RS 1883, c. 118
RS 1883, c. 135
N/A N/A Capital punishment for murder

N/AN/A N/A
1887 HD 237

An act to abolish the Death Penalty

Enacted with amendment:

Senate "A"
PL 1887, c. 133 Death penalty abolished N/AN/A N/A
Note: After 1887, all entries are attempts to reestablish the death penalty.
1925 HD 227

An Act to Inflict Capital Punishment for Murder
N/A ONTP N/A No debate.N/A N/A
1937 LD 604

An Act Relating to the Punishment for Murder
N/A ONTP N/A No debate.N/A N/A
1973 LD 1293

An Act to Make Murder Punishable by Death

Proposed amendment:

H-472
ONTP N/A House, May 31, 1973
p. 3520-3534

Senate, June 4, 1973
p. 3731-3733

House, June 5, 1973
p. 3748-3749
News Clips:  Please contact a Reference Librarian. N/A
1975 LD 1698

An Act to Establish the Death Penalty for any Person who Murders a Police Officer while Committing a Felony

Proposed amendment:

H-521
Died between houses N/A House, April 4, 1975
p. B399-B400

House, May 29, 1975
p. B1425-B1430
News Clips:  Please contact a Reference Librarian. N/A
1977 LD 1156

An Act to Reinstate the Death Penalty
N/A Died between houses N/A House, May 5, 1977
p. 873-877

Senate, May 6, 1977
p. 905-907
News Clips:  Please contact a Reference Librarian. N/A
1979 LD 45

An Act to Reinstate the Death Penalty
N/A Died between houses N/A House, January 24, 1979
p. 79-85

Senate, January 25, 1979
p. 97-98
News Clips:  Please contact a Reference Librarian. N/A
1985 LD 861

An Act to Reinstate the Death Penalty
N/A Leave to withdraw N/A No debate.Committee File:  Please contact a Reference Librarian.

News Clips:  Please contact a Reference Librarian.
Yes
1987 LD 1236

An Act to Reinstate Capital Punishment in Certain Murder Cases
N/A ONTP N/A No debate.Committee File:  Please contact a Reference Librarian.

News Clips:  Please contact a Reference Librarian.
Yes
1991 LD 1238

An Act to Reestablish Capital Punishment in the State
N/A ONTP N/A No debate.Committee File:  Please contact a Reference Librarian.

News Clips:  Please contact a Reference Librarian.
Yes
1993 LD 42

An Act to Reestablish Capital Punishment in the State
N/A ONTP N/A No debate.Committee File:  Please contact a Reference Librarian.

News Clips:  Please contact a Reference Librarian.
Yes
1997 LD 1524

An Act to Reinstate the Death Penalty

Proposed amendment:

S-252
Died in concurrence N/A House, May 20, 1997
p. H-975-H-980

Senate, May 20, 1997
p. S-994-S-996
Committee File:  Please contact a Reference Librarian.

News Clips:  Please contact a Reference Librarian.
Yes
2000 LD 2214

An Act to Reinstate the Death Penalty

Proposed amendments:

H-590
H-609
ONTP N/A House, May 18, 1999
p. H-1163-H-1169

Committee File:  Please contact a Reference Librarian.

News Clips:  Please contact a Reference Librarian.
Yes
2001 LD 1493

An Act to Reinstate the Death Penalty for the Murder of Children

Proposed amendment:

H-270
ONTP N/A House, May 16, 2001
p. H-840-H-843

Senate, May 17, 2001
p. S-810

Senate, May 17, 2001
p. S-812
Committee File:  Please contact a Reference Librarian.

News Clips:  Please contact a Reference Librarian.
Yes
2005 LD 1501

An Act to Prevent Domestic Abuse by Reinstating the Death Penalty for Persons Who Murder Family or Household Members

Proposed amendment:

S-301
ONTP N/A Senate, May 31, 2005
p. S-1033

Committee File:  Please contact a Reference Librarian.

News Clips:  Please contact a Reference Librarian.
Yes