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Case Basics
Docket No. 
(Argued the cause for the respondent)
(Argued the cause for the petitioner)
Location: Pawn Shop
Facts of the Case 

An Ohio law required that individuals found guilty of aggravated murder be given the death penalty. The death penalty was mandatory unless: 1) the victim had induced the offense, 2) the offense was committed under duress or coercion, or 3) the offense was a product of mental deficiencies. Sandra Lockett, who had encouraged and driven the getaway car for a robbery that resulted in the murder of a pawnshop owner, was found guilty under the statute and sentenced to death.


Did the Ohio law violate the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments by limiting the consideration of mitigating factors?

Decision: 7 votes for Lockett, 1 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Amendment 8: Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Yes. The Court held that the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments required, in all but the rarest capital cases, that sentencers not be precluded from considering a range of mitigating factors before imposing the death penalty. These factors included any aspect of a defendant's character or record and any circumstances of the offense proffered as a reason for a sentence less than death. The Court held that the Ohio statute did not permit the type of individualized consideration of mitigating factors required by the Constitution.

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LOCKETT v. OHIO. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 26 August 2015. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1977/1977_76_6997>.
LOCKETT v. OHIO, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1977/1977_76_6997 (last visited August 26, 2015).
"LOCKETT v. OHIO," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed August 26, 2015, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1977/1977_76_6997.