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By Michael A. Foley

Justice Marshall as soon as remarked that if humans knew what he knew concerning the loss of life penalty, they'd reject it overwhelmingly. Foley elucidates Marshall's declare that primary flaws exist within the implementation of the loss of life penalty. He courses us throughout the background of the superb Court's demise penalty judgements, revealing a constitutional quagmire the courtroom needs to navigate to prevent violating the elemental tenant of equivalent justice for all.

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Justice McKenna notes that 26 Arbitrary and Capricious this draconian punishment is almost inconceivable to American ears. 27 Throughout this historical survey, McKenna argues that the phrase does appear to be flexible in nature. However, at no point does he conclude that the phrase precludes the use of the death penalty. What this opinion changes, however, from the perspective of the cruel and unusual punishment clause, is that that phrase need no longer be given a strict and narrow eighteenth-century definition and meaning.

10 The New York legislature itself approved the use of the electric chair as a more humane method of execution. That does not mean, however, that any death penalty method would pass constitutional muster. ”11 He continues, “Punishments are cruel when 22 Arbitrary and Capricious they involve torture or a lingering death; but the punishment of death is not cruel within the meaning of that word as used in the constitution. ”12 Furthermore, the use of the electric chair, the Court noted, may be unusual, but that does not make its use illegitimate or unconstitutional.

The trial judge denied that there was any systematic exclusion of potential jurors on account of race or color. After his conviction, Norris appealed to the Alabama Supreme Court. The judges there ruled that there had been no systematic exclusion of jurors on the basis of race or color. Norris’s conviction and sentence were upheld. Thereupon he appealed to the United States Supreme Court. The Supreme Court overturned the conviction on the basis that potential jurors had been excluded from jury duty on the basis of race or color.

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