Abolition State

Capital punishment has been illegal in Michigan since the state legislature abolished it in 1846. Michigan was the first English-speaking government in the world to completely abolish the death penalty for ordinary crimes. Although the penalty was retained on the books for treason until 1963, Michigan has not executed any person since statehood. With one exception, all executions in areas which are now part of Michigan were performed before the state was admitted to the Union.  Approximately a dozen people are known to have been executed – all by hanging – from 1683 to 1836. At least one of those was determined to be the execution of an innocent man. Although Michigan had abolished the death penalty, the one execution which took place after statehood was granted was in 1938, but it was a federal execution, outside of the state’s jurisdiction, and also the last execution to be performed in Michigan.

For more information and ways to get involved, contact your state's organizations:

National Registry of Exonerations

The National Registry of Exonerations is a joint project of the University of the Michigan Law School and the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law. They maintain an up to date list of all known exonerations in the United States since 1989.

Michigan Catholic Conference

The Michigan Catholic Conference was founded in 1963 as the public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Michigan. The MCC serves in this capacity so that the Catholic Church’s position on public policy matters may be presented with one voice to the executive, legislative and judicial branches of state government.


Death Penalty Information Center Page