LOCKETT v. OHIO

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
76-6997
Petitioner 
Lockett
Respondent 
Ohio
Advocates
(Argued the cause for the respondent)
(Argued the cause for the petitioner)
Tags
Term:
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.

Question 

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

Conclusion 
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.

Cite this Page
LOCKETT v. OHIO. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 11 September 2014. <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 September 11, 2014).
"LOCKETT v. OHIO," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed September 11, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1977/1977_76_6997.