Midterm 1 Study Guide for PHL 304

Midterm 1 Study Guide for PHL 304 - Midterm 1 Study Guide...

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Midterm 1 Study Guide for PHL 304 Gregg v. Georgia on Death Penalty(Majority) 8 th amendment prohibits infliction of cruel and unusual (unconstitutional) Furman v. Georgia 1972 Majority opinion ruled capital punishment unconstitutional as then administered o Distinction: administration of punishment and the punishment itself “standardless discretion” led to arbitrariness No standards guiding decision o Violates 14 th amendment requiring “due process” of law As response: Some states (i.e. North Carolina) introduced mandatory death sentences for certain crimes (0% discretion of jury) Some other states (i.e. Georgia) developed standards to guide jury’s discretion Woodson v. North Carolina 1976 Majority opinion ruled mandatory death sentences unconstitutional o Still issue of administration Gregg v. Georgia overview Death penalty is not unconstitutional when imposed at (guided) discretion of jury for crime of murder, as long as appropriate safeguards are provided against any arbitrary or capricious imposition Standards needed to guide deliberation of jury Majority opinion: o Death penalty is not cruel and unusual itself o Problems regarding administration of penalty solved in Georgia Minority: o Death penalty is cruel and unusual in itself Respect to evolving standards of decency
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When 8 th amendment was introduced, death penalty was acceptable Was not rejected as unacceptable in previous court cases; administration was unacceptable Respect to being in accord with the dignity of man/not excessive Retribution: capital punishment is an expression of society’s moral outrage at particular offensive conduct o May be unappealing, but the system takes care rather than on your own Deterrence: prevention of same action later by others o Studies whether death penalty is deterrent is inconclusive o For many, death penalty is deterrent – but no evidence o Courts divide which crimes are most deterrent Gregg v. Georgia Minority Opinion (Marshall) Death penalty is unconstitutional for 2 reasons: If American people were fully informed, they would consider death penalty to be morally unacceptable o Misinformation within the American public o Study has shown that opinion of informed public would be significantly different o Yet, the fact that death penalty accords with the standards of decency doesn’t conclusively show that it’s not cruel and unusual Is death penalty necessary to accomplish legit legislative purposes in punishment, or would a less severe penalty – life imprisonment – do as well? o
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Midterm 1 Study Guide for PHL 304 - Midterm 1 Study Guide...

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