Summary of Gregg v. Georgia
Supreme Court of the United States, 1976.
Facts: Petitioner was convicted for murder and was sentenced to death by a jury. Death sentence was rendered under a Georgia statute where after finding the defendant guilt, the jury went through sentencing proceedings. Facts about the crime and defendant’s witnesses were offered to the jury for mitigation or aggravation purposes.
Issue: 1. Is death penalty unconstitutional under all circumstances? 2. Is Georgia’s statute unconstitutional?
Holding: 1. No 2. No
Rationale: In order to consider the first issue, the ct. looked at the views of the contemporary society and then the human dignity of the death penalty sentence. Ct. found that society still supported the death penalty in reserved type of cases. There is not clear evidence that shows death penalty as an ineffective deterrence and the history and current legislative views show that contemporary society does not consider death penalty to be cruel in all instances. Furthermore, the Georgia’s statute is not unconstitutional because it requires the jury to go through steps before deciding whether the defendant should live or die. Affirmed.