MCCLESKEY v. KEMP

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
84-6811
Petitioner 
McCleskey
Respondent 
Kemp
Advocates
(Argued the cause for the petitioner)
(Argued the cause for the respondent)
Tags
Term:
Facts of the Case 

McCleskey, a black man, was convicted of murdering a police officer in Georgia and sentenced to death. In a writ of habeas corpus, McCleskey argued that a statistical study proved that the imposition of the death penalty in Georgia depended to some extent on the race of the victim and the accused. The study found that black defendants who kill white victims are the most likely to receive death sentences in the state.

Question 

Did the statistical study prove that McCleskey's sentence violated the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments?

Conclusion 
Decision: 5 votes for Kemp, 4 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Equal Protection

The Court held that since McCleskey could not prove that purposeful discrimination which had a discriminatory effect on him existed in this particular trial, there was no constitutional violation. Justice Powell refused to apply the statistical study in this case given the unique circumstances and nature of decisions that face all juries in capital cases. He argued that the data McCleskey produced is best presented to legislative bodies and not to the courts.

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MCCLESKEY v. KEMP. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 23 October 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1986/1986_84_6811>.
MCCLESKEY v. KEMP, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1986/1986_84_6811 (last visited October 23, 2014).
"MCCLESKEY v. KEMP," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed October 23, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1980-1989/1986/1986_84_6811.