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CAPITAL PUNISHMENT

NCJ Number
40506
Journal
Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology Volume: 67 Issue: 4 Dated: (DECEMBER 1976) Pages: 437-449
Author(s)
ANON
Date Published
1977
Annotation
THIS ARTICLE IS AN ANALYSIS OF THE FIVE CASES DECIDED BY THE SUPREME COURT DURING THE 1976 TERM INVOLVING VARIOUS ATTEMPTS BY THE STATES TO DEVISE A CONSTITUTIONAL FORM OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT.
Abstract
IN GREGG V. GEORGIA, PROFFITT V. FLORIDA, AND JUREK V. TEXAS, THE COURT HELD THAT THE RESPECTIVE STATES HAD DEVISED STATUTES PERMITTING CAPITAL PUNISHMENT WHICH COULD PASS CONSTITUTIONAL MUSTER. YET STATE PLANS IN TWO OTHER CASES, WOODSON V. NORTH CAROLINA, AND ROBERTS V. LOUISIANA, FAILED TO MEET THE COURTS CONSTITUTIONAL STANDARDS. THE AUTHOR EXAMINES EACH JUSTICE'S SEPARATE OPINION IN THESE CASES, FOCUSING ON LEGAL REASONING, PRECEDENTS EMPLOYED AND INTERPRETED, AND DOCTRINE ESPOUSED. THE ARTICLE CONCLUDES THAT A STATUTE IMPOSING THE DEATH PENALTY WILL BE UPHELD IF THERE ARE SUBSTANTIVE SENTENCING GUIDES TO AID THE SENTENCING AUTHORITY AND IF THERE IS A SEPARATE PROCEDURE BY WHICH THE DEFENDANT HAS AN OPPORTUNITY TO ALLEGE MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCES TO THE SENTENCING AUTHORITY. BECAUSE OF THE RELATIVE CLARITY AND SUBSTANTIAL AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE PLURALITIES IN THESE CASES, GREGG AND ITS COMPANION DECISIONS SHOULD SETTLE FOR SOME TIME THE FUNDAMENTAL QUESTIONS INVOLVING THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT FOR MURDER....MSP