Military death penalty – Davila

The prosecution of SPC Ivette Davila, at Fort Lewis, will generate some interest; hers will be the first death penalty prosecution of a woman under the UCMJ.

Checking – has a woman ever been executed as a result of a court-martial in the United States?  The answer is no under the UCMJ.  The two most famous death penalty cases involving women were Kinsella v. Singleton, 361 U.S. 234 (1960), and Reid v. Covert, 354 U.S. 1 (1957).  (These cases stood, until the recent change to Article 2, UCMJ, for the proposition that there was no court-martial jurisdiction over civilians except under limited circumstances.  The constitutionality of the recent changes to Article 2, UCMJ, extending jurisdiction over civilians is yet to be tested.)

Noted authority on the UCMJ Frederick Bernays Wiener represented Mrs. Kinsella.

The Death Penalty Information Center reports that:

As of June 30, 2009 there were 53 women on death row. This constitutes 1.6% of the total death row population of about 3,297 persons.

In the past 100 years, over 40 women have been executed in the U.S, including 11 since 1976. See, Women Executed in the U.S. Since 1900 for the date, state, race, and method of each execution.

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