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Enmund v. Florida

Significance, The Facts Of The Crime, The Legal Process, Degree Of Responsibility, Implications Of Decision


Earl Enmund


State of Florida

Petitioner's Claim

That his death sentence constituted cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments for aiding a felony that ended up a murder, even though he did not participate in the murder or intend for it to happen.

Chief Lawyer for Petitioner

James S. Liebman

Chief Lawyer for Respondent

Lawrence A. Kaden

Justices for the Court

Harry A. Blackmun, William J. Brennan, Jr., Thurgood Marshall, John Paul Stevens, Byron R. White (writing for the Court)

Justices Dissenting

Warren E. Burger, Sandra Day O'Connor, Lewis F. Powell, Jr., William H. Rehnquist


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

2 July 1982


The Supreme Court held that Enmund's sentence violated his Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights to fair punishment proportionate to his role in the crime. The Court found that Enmund's deed warranted a serious punishment, but not capital punishment, as the state of Florida argued.

Related Cases

  • Weems v. United States, 217 U.S. 349 (1910).
  • Coker v. Georgia, 433 U.S. 584 (1977).
  • Cabana v. Bullock, 474 U.S. 376 (1986).
  • Tison v. Arizona, 481 U.S. 137 (1987).
  • Gregg v. Georgia, 428 U.S. 153 (1987).
  • Jacobs v. Scott, 513 U.S. 1067 (1995).


Kadish, Sanford H., ed. Encyclopedia of Crime and Justice. New York: Free Press, 1983.

Further Readings

  • Biskupic, Joan, and Elder Witt, eds. Congressional Quarterly's Guide to the U.S. Supreme Court, 3rd ed. Washington, DC: Congressional Quarterly, Inc., 1996.
  • Camper, Diane. "The Court's Hectic Finale." Newsweek, July 12, 1982.
  • Greenhouse, Linda. "Court Upholds Execute Order Appeal Denied Despite Recant."Times=Picayune, January 3, 1995.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1981 to 1988