skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 98758 Find in a Library
Title: Death at Any Cost - A Critique of the Supreme Court's Recent Retreat From Its Death Penalty Standards
Journal: Florida State University Law Review  Volume:12  Issue:4  Dated:(Winter 1985)  Pages:737-780
Author(s): W S Geimer
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 44
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper argues that the U.S. Supreme Court's decisions in Barefoot v. Estelle, Zant v. Stephens, Barclay v. Florida, and Pulley v. Harris constitute a retreat from the Court's previous commitment to a stringent due process standard in capital cases.
Abstract: This critique first identifies the components of death-penalty due process which emerged from Furman v. Georgia (1972) and subsequent 1976 Court decisions pertaining to State capital punishment schemes. The paper then discusses selected Supreme Court decisions that implemented the 1976 standards, decisions that apparently indicated the Court's resolve to implement these standards. The paper concludes that these decisions deepened the dilemma created by the contradictory themes of the 1976 decisions. The final section of the critique discusses the Court's 1983-84 decisions deemed to have abandoned its previous due process standards in death penalty cases. The author argues that Barefoot v. Estelle (1983) produced two propositions: (1) either capital appellants are to receive no more process than that afforded ordinary litigants; or (2) they are to receive less process because, unlike appeals of prison sentences, the sentence cannot begin while appeals are being pursued. Zant v. Stephens (1983) and Barclay v. Florida (1983) are indicated to abandon the guided discretion for death sentences set in 'Furman.' The author reasons that in Pulley v. Harris (1984), the Court decided that proportionality review is not a constitutional requirement in capital cases. In the context of the Supreme Court decisions reviewed, the paper advises defense attorneys in capital cases to assume that the trial court will be the final forum that determines the defendant's fate. A total of 200 footnotes are listed.
Index Term(s): Appeal procedures; Capital punishment; Right to Due Process; US Supreme Court decisions
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.