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Litigation Blog.
The seasoned lawyers and litigators at The Rubinstein Law Firm are here to share their insights with you.

Does Michigan have the death penalty?

Murder in many states will result in the potential of facing the death penalty. If you are facing a murder charge in Michigan, you may worry you could end up sentenced to death.

That fear is unwarranted. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, Michigan does not have the death penalty.

History in the state

Michigan has never been very fond of using the death penalty as a punishment for crime. The state has only used the penalty 13 times in its history. Most of those happened before the state was officially a state.

The only one to happen after statehood was in 1938, and it was not a state sentence. Anthony Chebatoris was put to death in Michigan under a federal sentence.


The state banned the death penalty as part of a constitutional amendment in 1963. It was the first territory among English-speaking areas to ban it in 1847. However, even at that time, there was still the potential for it as a sentence for the crime of treason. The state never used it for that, though.

Michigan lawmakers felt so strongly about getting rid of the death penalty that when they voted to add the amendment to ban it, the vote was 108 to 3.

Perhaps one of the reasons why people are so against the death penalty in Michigan is because of one famous case in the state’s history. A man was hanged for rape and murder, but later, his roommate confessed. The law had gotten it wrong, and there was no way to correct the mistake.