GREGG v. GEORGIA

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
74-6257
Petitioner 
Gregg
Respondent 
Georgia
Advocates
(Argued the cause for the United States as amicus curiae)
(By appointment of the Court, argued the cause for the petitioner)
(Argued the cause for the respondent)
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Facts of the Case 

A jury found Gregg guilty of armed robbery and murder and sentenced him to death. On appeal, the Georgia Supreme Court affirmed the death sentence except as to its imposition for the robbery conviction. Gregg challenged his remaining death sentence for murder, claiming that his capital sentence was a "cruel and unusual" punishment that violated the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments.

This case is one of the five "Death Penalty Cases" along with Jurek v. Texas, Roberts v. Louisiana, Proffitt v. Florida, and Woodson v. North Carolina.

Question 

Is the imposition of the death sentence prohibited under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments as "cruel and unusual" punishment?

Conclusion 
Decision: 7 votes for Georgia, 2 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Amendment 8: Cruel and Unusual Punishment

No. In a 7-to-2 decision, the Court held that a punishment of death did not violate the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments under all circumstances. In extreme criminal cases, such as when a defendant has been convicted of deliberately killing another, the careful and judicious use of the death penalty may be appropriate if carefully employed. Georgia's death penalty statute assures the judicious and careful use of the death penalty by requiring a bifurcated proceeding where the trial and sentencing are conducted separately, specific jury findings as to the severity of the crime and the nature of the defendant, and a comparison of each capital sentence's circumstances with other similar cases. Moreover, the Court was not prepared to overrule the Georgia legislature's finding that capital punishment serves as a useful deterrent to future capital crimes and an appropriate means of social retribution against its most serious offenders.

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GREGG v. GEORGIA. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 16 September 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1975/1975_74_6257/>.
GREGG v. GEORGIA, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1975/1975_74_6257/ (last visited September 16, 2014).
"GREGG v. GEORGIA," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed September 16, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1975/1975_74_6257/.