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'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.

'08 Baze v Rees

The court ruled 7-2 that Kentucky's 3-drug protocol for carrying out lethal injections does not amount to cruel and unusual punishment under the 8th amendment.

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