Argued: January 17,1972

Decided: June 29,1972

Concerned the violations of the 8th and 14th amendments as by means of the death penalty. (At least where a person is convicted in a state court for murder or rape, is Negro, and is sentenced to death after a trial by jury which has discretion to impose or oppose the death penalty.)

The case tied together three petitioners:

  1. Furman v. Georgia- Furman was convicted in a state court of murder and the death sentence was upheld in the Georgia Supreme Court (Furman was burglarizing a home when discovered by a roused occupant. In an attempt to flee the scene he tripped and fell. His gun expelled one round and killed a resident of the home.)
  2. Jackson v. Georgia- Jackson was convicted of rape and his sentence of death was upheld by the Georgia Supreme Court.
  3. Branch v. Texas- Branch was convicted of rape and his sentence of death was upheld by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

On certiorari, the United States Supreme Court reversed the judgment in each case so far as to leave undisturbed the death sentence imposed and remanded for further proceedings. Five of the six judges held the position that to carry out the sentencing was unconstitutional as it was a violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. They felt that the death penalty should and would not be administered in a capricious or discriminatory manner.

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