Pulley v. Harris - Significance
R. Pulley, Warden
Robert Alton Harris
The failure of the state to provide for a judicial review of the proportionality of his death sentence was unconstitutional and required reversal of the sentence.
Chief Lawyer for Petitioner
Michael D. Wellington
Chief Lawyer for Respondent
Anthony G. Amsterdam
Justices for the Court
Harry A. Blackmun, Warren E. Burger, Sandra Day O'Connor, Lewis F. Powell, Jr., William H. Rehnquist, John Paul Stevens, Byron R. White (writing for the Court)
William J. Brennan, Jr., Thurgood Marshall
Date of Decision
23 January 1984
The Constitution does not require that a court review a sentence of death to confirm that it has been imposed in similar cases.
Although most states require a court reviewing a death penalty sentence to determine that the sentence is proportional compared to similar crimes, such review is not required because of the holding in the Harris case. A later decision in Harris' case also stands for the proposition that use of gas chambers for executions does not violate the Eighth Amendment's prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment.
- Furman v. Georgia, 408 U.S. 238 (1972).
- Gregg v. Georgia, 428 U.S. 153 (1976).
- Proffitt v. Florida, 428 U.S. 242 (1976).
- Jurek v. Texas, 428 U.S. 262 (1976).
- Zant v. Stephens, 462 U.S. 862 (1983).
- Gomez v. California, 503 U.S. 653 (1992).
- Caminker, Evan, and Erwin Chemerinsky. "The Lawless Execution of Robert Alton Harris." Yale Law Journal, October 1992.
- Kaplan, John. "The Problem of Capital Punishment." University of Illinois Law Review, 1983.
- "The Modern View of Capital Punishment." American Criminal Law Review, summer 1997.
- Rankin v. McPherson - "i Hope They Get Him", Pickering And Connick, Comment A Matter Of Public Concern, "simply Violent"
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- Pulley v. Harris - Significance
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