Does Wyoming Have a Death Penalty


Does Wyoming have a death penalty? Some significant criminal actions, most frequently violent killings when the jury finds the guilty culprit to be without remorse, carry a death sentence. Several places in the US prohibit it.

Death Penalty in Wyoming

The death penalty is an acceptable punishment in the American state of Wyoming.

Since it was reinstated in the country in 1976, Wyoming has only carried out one execution. It is that of Mark Hopkinson in 1992 for orchestrating the murder of four persons.

No defendants have received a death sentence in Wyoming as of March 2022. In March 2022, the federal court of Appeals for the tenth circuit reversed the execution sentence of Dale Eaton.

Wyoming does not have a dedicated execution chamber. Still, if a lethal injection execution occurs in the future, the state has declared it will utilize the parole board conference room in the Wyoming State Penitentiary.

The jury must reach a unanimous verdict when the prosecution requests the death penalty.

If there is a tie vote among the jurors during the punishment phase of the trial, the sentence is life in prison. There is no need for a new trial.

Commuting a death sentence is only possible with the approval of the Wyoming governor. There hasn’t been a commutation since 1977.

The Wyoming Women’s Center in Lusk and the Wyoming State Penitentiary in Rawlins have death row for male prisoners.

Lethal injection is the execution technique. Gas inhalation is a fallback option if lethal injection is considered unlawful.

Present-Day U.S. Policy on the Death Penalty

More attempts have been made to limit the use of the death sentence at all levels, despite the Supreme Court upholding its constitutionality. Mentally challenged offenders do not get the death penalty.

Challenges to the Death Penalty

The presumptive legality of the death penalty in the United States faced challenges in the 1960s. That altered in the early 1960s.

The following is a summary of the legal challenges to the death sentence in the US and brief explanations of significant US Supreme Court rulings.

Standard of Decency

The Eighth Amendment included a “growing standard of decency that showed the growth of a developing society,” the Supreme Court said in Trop v. Dulles in 1958. Although Trop wasn’t a case involving the death sentence, abolitionists nonetheless said that the United States had advanced to the point where the “norm of decency” should no longer permit the use of the death penalty.

Challenges: Execution Management

The Supreme Court started reexamining the execution process in the latter half of the 1960s.

For instance, the Supreme Court considered two cases in 1968 involving juror and prosecutor discretion in death trials. The federal abduction law states that the death penalty may be imposed only if the jury recommends it. The Supreme Court heard arguments in U.S. v. Jackson challenging this condition.

The Court determined that this approach violated the Constitution because it encouraged criminal defendants facing the death penalty to forego their right to a jury trial to avoid it.

Challenges to the Death Penalty: Lethal Injection Drugs

Although it has been disputed that lethal injection is linked with a more compassionate manner to executions. This procedure commonly involves three types of medications in the following order: a barbiturate that puts the prisoner asleep, a paralyzing agent, and a chemical that stops the heart.

These medications, particularly midazolam, have faced legal problems, nevertheless. Billy Ray Irick, a death row inmate in Tennessee, filed a petition with the Supreme Court in 2018, complaining that the state’s three-drug cocktail “will cause him to experience sensations of drowning, suffocating, and being burned alive.”


Given that the United States is one of the few industrialized countries that still use the death penalty, challenges to its constitutionality in state courts and federal courts are nevertheless frequent. Despite these difficulties, these laws are still in force and allow for the execution of those found guilty.

Frequently Asked Questions

When was the last execution in Wyoming?

Mark Hopkinson was the final person to die via lethal injection in Wyoming. Dale Wayne Eaton, the final prisoner on Wyoming’s execution row, had his death sentence reversed on November 20, 2014. On September 27, 2021, Wyoming’s prosecutors decided not to pursue the death penalty.

Carrying out the death penalty

Wyoming carries out executions through lethal injection. However, concerns over the availability of lethal injection medicines have pushed Wyoming lawmakers to consider a second form of execution. It’s not as absurd as you may imagine.

What states don’t practice the death penalty?

Governor-issued moratoria in California, Oregon, and Pennsylvania has stopped executions there. In 1846, Michigan became the first state to do away with the death sentence among those that had done so.





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