Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed Senate amended (06/10/1988)

(Measure passed Senate, amended, roll call #175 (65-29))

Amends the Controlled Substances Act to establish criteria for the imposition of the death penalty where any person: (1) engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise intentionally, or with reckless indifference to human life, kills or participates in the killing of any individual; or (2) intentionally, or with reckless indifference to human life, kills or participates in the killing of a law enforcement officer during the commission of, in furtherance of, or while attempting to avoid apprehension, prosecution, or service of a prison term for a felony violation of such Act.

Requires the Government, for such offense, to serve notice upon the defendant a reasonable time before trial or acceptance of a plea, disclosing that it intends to seek the death penalty and the aggravating factors upon which it will rely.

Requires a separate sentencing hearing before a jury, or the court upon motion by the defendant, when the defendant is found guilty or pleads guilty to such offense.

Allows the defendant and the Government to present any information relevant to sentencing, without regard to the rules of evidence, but permits information to be excluded if its probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice, confusion of the issues, or misleading of the jury.

Directs the court, or the jury by unanimous vote, to impose the death penalty upon finding that such sentence is justified based on consideration of both aggravating and mitigating factors.

States that a sentence of death shall not be imposed upon any person who: (1) was under 18 years of age at the time the crime was committed; or (2) by reason of mental disease or defect, is unable to understand his or her impending death or its reasons.

Sets forth both mitigating and aggravating factors to be considered by the jury or the court when imposing its sentence. Includes among the latter: (1) the intentional nature of the act that resulted in the act that resulted in the victim's death; (2) previous convictions for Controlled Substances Act violations; and (3) the especially heinous, cruel, or depraved nature of the offense.

Requires the court to instruct the jury not to consider the race, color, national origin, creed, or sex of the defendant in its consideration of the sentence. Requires each juror to return a signed certificate stating that these factors were not considerations in determining the sentence.

Directs the Comptroller General to: (1) conduct a study of the procedures used by States in determining whether to impose the death penalty; and (2) report to the Congress on any procedures that may account for the evidence that the race of the defendant or victim influences the likelihood that defendants will be sentenced to death.

Allows the court to impose a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for such offenses when the death penalty is not imposed.

Establishes procedures for appeal from a death sentence. Requires the Court of Appeals, upon consideration of the record and the information and procedures of the sentencing hearing, to affirm the decision if: (1) the sentence was not imposed under the influence of passion, prejudice, or arbitrariness; and (2) the information supports the finding of aggravating factors or the absence of mitigating factors. Requires the court to provide a written explanation of its determination.

States that no employee shall be required to participate in or attend any execution carried out under this Act if such participation is contrary to the employee's moral and religious conviction.