SCHAD v. ARIZONA

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
90-5551
Petitioner 
Schad
Respondent 
Arizona
Decided By 
Advocates
(Argued the cause for the petitioner)
(Argued the cause for the respondent)
Tags
Term:
Facts of the Case 

An Arizona prosecutor brought a charge of first-degree murder against Schad after he was found with a murder victim's vehicle and other belongings. In Arizona, first-degree murder is murder committed with premeditation or murder committed in an attempt to rob. Schad maintained that circumstantial evidence established at most that he was a thief. The jury's instructions addressed first- and second-degree murder, not theft. The jury convicted Schad of first- degree murder. The judge sentenced Schad to death.

Question 

Does the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment require juries in capital cases to be instructed on every lesser offense, includeding non-capital offenses, (e.g., robbery) that are supported by the evidence?

Conclusion 
Decision: 5 votes for Arizona, 4 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Due Process

No. In a complex decision, Souter's plurality opinion acknowledged that jury instructions offering all-or-nothing alternatives in capital cases may overstep the Due Process Clause. But Schad's jury was not faced with such a choice. His jury had been instructed on the non-capital offense of second- degree murder.

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SCHAD v. ARIZONA. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 01 September 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1990/1990_90_5551>.
SCHAD v. ARIZONA, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1990/1990_90_5551 (last visited September 1, 2014).
"SCHAD v. ARIZONA," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed September 1, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1990/1990_90_5551.