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NCJ Number: 48613 Find in a Library
Title: CRIMINAL PROCEDURE - EXPANDING DISCLOSURE OF PRESENTENCE INVESTIGATION REPORTS
Journal: UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA LAW REVIEW  Volume:29  Issue:4  Dated:(SUMMER 1977)  Pages:769-777
Author(s): R LIEBERWITZ
Corporate Author: University of Florida
College of Law
United States of America
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 9
Sponsoring Agency: University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32601
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE SUPREME COURT DECISION IN GARDNER VS. FLORIDA IS CITED AS SIGNALLING THE TREND TOWARD THE DISCLOSURE OF PRESENTENCE INVESTIGATION REPORTS IN SENTENCING HEARINGS.
Abstract: A FLORIDA CIRCUIT COURT JURY FOUND A DEFENDANT (GARDNER) GUILTY OF FIRST DEGREE MURDER. IN THE SEPARATE SENTENCING HEARING, THE JURY RETURNED A VERDICT OF LIFE IMPRISONMENT AFTER DETERMINING THAT THE MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCES OUTWEIGHED THE AGGRAVATING CIRCUMSTANCES. THE TRIAL JUDGE, HOWEVER, CONCLUDED THAT THE AGGRAVATING CIRCUMSTANCES WERE PREPONDERANT AND SENTENCED THE DEFENDANT TO DEATH. THE JUDGE BASED HIS DECISION PARTIALLY ON FACTUAL INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THE PRESENTENCE INVESTIGATION REPORT, WHICH THE DEFENSE COUNSEL WAS NOT PERMITTED TO SEE. NEITHER WAS THE PRESENTENCE INVESTIGATION REPORT (PSI) INCLUDED IN THE RECORD ON APPEAL TO THE FLORIDA SUPREME COURT, WHICH AFFIRMED THE SENTENCE. THE UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT REVERSED, REMANDED, AND HELD THAT THE PETITIONER WAS DENIED DUE PROCESS OF LAW WHEN THE IMPOSITION OF THE DEATH SENTENCE WAS BASED, AT LEAST IN PART, ON INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THE PSI, WHICH NEITHER HE NOR HIS COUNSEL HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO DENY OR EXPLAIN. IN REFUTING THE ARGUMENTS THAT THE STATE OF OF FLORIDA OFFERED FOR MAINTAINING THE CONFIDENTIALITY OF THE PSI, THE SUPREME COURT HELD THAT THE DUE PROCESS RIGHTS OF THE DEFENDANT OUTWEIGHED ANY CONSIDERATIONS FOR THE NONDISCLOSURE OF PSI INFORMATION, PARTICULARLY WHERE THE DEATH SENTENCE IS AN OPTION. IT IS BELIEVED THAT IN RELYING ON THE DUE PROCESS CLAUSE OF THE CONSTITUTION TO INVALIDATE A PROCEDURE USED IN SENTENCING FOR A CAPITAL OFFENSE, THE COURT HAS LAID A FOUNDATION THAT MAY ALLOW THE EXTENSION OF THE COURT'S DECISION TO CASES OTHER THAN THOSE INVOLVING THE DEATH PENALTY. (RCB)
Index Term(s): Capital punishment; Case studies; Right to Due Process; Rights at sentencing; Sentencing/Sanctions; US Supreme Court
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=48613

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