'72 Furman v Georgia
All death penalty statutes are nullified. The Supreme Court decided 5-4 that procedures in place are too arbitrary and irrational to give defendants due process of law.
'76 Gregg v Georgia
Death penalty is not unconstitutional in all cases. Courts 7-2 decision allows states to reinstate death penalty under new procedural guidelines
'77 Coker v Georgia
Death is an excessive penalty for the crime of rape. Court rules 7-2 that only those convicted of 1st degree murder can be put to death.
'86 Ford vs Wainwright
The Constitution forbids the execution of someone who is insane. The 5-4 decision says that a defendant must be able to comprehend his or her punishment.
'88 Thompson v Oklahoma
States cannot execute who was under 16 at the time of the crime. The 5-3 decision was followed a year later by a ruling allowing execution of those who were between 16-18 at the time of the crime.
'05 Roper v Simmons
The court ruled 5-4 that under the 8th and 14th amendments, it is unconstitutional to execute a juvenile offender who was under 18 when he committed a capital crime. The court held that capital punishment in these circumstances constituted cruel and unusual punishment.
'08 Kennedy v Louisiana
In a 5-4 decision, that court struck down as unconstitutional, under the 8th and 14th amendments a Louisiana statute that allowed the death penalty for the rape of a child where the victim did not die.