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NCJ Number: 119573 Find in a Library
Title: McCleskey v. Kemp: The Supreme Court Pulls the Switch on Future Judicial Challenges to the Death Penalty
Journal: John Marshall Law Review  Volume:22  Issue:1  Dated:(Fall 1988)  Pages:215-234
Author(s): W H Jones
Date Published: 1988
Page Count: 20
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: In McCleskey v. Kemp, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Georgia's capital punishment system, a system that many have challenged on constitutional grounds.
Abstract: McCleskey and three others committed armed robbery of an Atlanta furniture store in 1978. During the robbery, a bullet struck and killed an investigating police officer. McCleskey and the others fled, but the police later apprehended them. At the trial, the jury found that McCleskey shot the police officer and subsequently convicted him of two counts of armed robbery and one count of murder. Pursuant to Georgia's sentencing procedure, the jury sentenced McCleskey to death. On appeal, Georgia's Supreme Court affirmed both the convictions and the sentence. McCleskey appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court and found this court unreceptive to his allegation that Georgia's capital sentencing system violates the Eighth Amendment's prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment. The U.S. Supreme Court further rejected the argument that the Georgia legislature had acted with a discriminatory purpose in devising the State's capital punishment system. It is concluded that the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the State of Georgia to violate the spirit of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, set a dangerous precedent regarding the use of statistics as evidence, and effectively foreclosed any broad-based challenges to the death penalty. Appendixes contain the statistics presented to the U.S. Supreme Court on defendant and victim race in relation to death sentencing rates. 134 references.
Main Term(s): Capital punishment
Index Term(s): Cruel and unusual punishment; Georgia (USA); US Supreme Court decisions
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