Death Penalty Legislation: Hearing Before the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, Ninety-ninth Congress, First Session, on S. 239 ... September 24, 1985, Volume 4

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Page 57 - ... sentence. Amnesty, pardon or commutation of the sentence of death may be granted in all cases. 5. Sentence of death shall not be imposed for crimes committed by persons below eighteen years of age and shall not be carried out on pregnant women. 6. Nothing in this article shall be invoked to delay or to prevent the abolition of capital punishment by any State Party to the present Covenant.
Page 90 - ... the penalty of death. This conclusion rests squarely on the predicate that the penalty of death is qualitatively different from a sentence of imprisonment, however long. Death, in its finality, differs more from life imprisonment than a 100-year prison term differs from one of only a year or two. Because of that qualitative difference, there is a corresponding difference in the need for reliability in the determination that death is the appropriate punishment in a specific case.
Page 72 - Nation committed to equal protection of the laws there is no permissible "caste" aspect of law enforcement. Yet we know that the discretion of judges and juries in imposing the death penalty enables the penalty to be selectively applied, feeding prejudices against the accused if he is poor and despised, and lacking political clout, or if he is a member of a suspect or unpopular minority, and saving those who by social position may be in a more protected position.
Page 85 - US 343, 355 (1898). In these cases, the Court has presumed that unanimous verdicts are essential in federal jury trials, not because unanimity Is necessarily fundamental to the function performed by the jury, but because that result Is mandated by history.
Page 87 - While Texas has not adopted a list of statutory aggravating circumstances the existence of which can justify the imposition of the death penalty as have Georgia and Florida, its action in narrowing the categories of murders for which a death sentence may ever be imposed serves much the same purpose.
Page 91 - is of vital importance to the defendant and to the community that any decision to impose the death sentence be, and appear to be, based on reason rather than caprice or emotion.
Page 93 - Court held that the penalty of death may not be imposed under sentencing procedures that create a substantial risk that the punishment will be inflicted in an arbitrary and capricious manner.
Page 90 - Amendment . . .requires consideration of the character and record of the individual offender and the circumstances of the particular offense as a constitutionally indispensable part of the process of inflicting the penalty of death. This conclusion rests squarely on the predicate that the penalty of death is qualitatively different from a sentence of imprisonment, however long.
Page 90 - ... in capital cases the fundamental respect for humanity underlying the Eighth Amendment g .Iras v. Dulles. 356 at 100 (plurality opinion), requires consideration of the character and record of the individual offender and the circumstances of the particular offense as a constitutionally indispensable part of the process of inflicting the penalty of death.
Page 72 - It must channel the sentencer's discretion by "clear and objective standards"' that provide "specific and detailed guidance,"* and that "make rationally reviewable the process for imposing a sentence of death."7 As was made clear in Gregg, a death penalty "system could have standards so vague that they would fail adequately to channel the sentencing decision patterns of juries with the result that a pattern of arbitrary and capricious sentencing like that found unconstitutional in Furman could occur.

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