Court Rules On Jury Role In Death Penalty Cases

1972

In the combined cases of Crampton v. Ohio and McGautha v. California, the U.S. Supreme Court examines the role of jurors in death penalty trials. In Crampton, the Court finds that it is constitutional for a single jury to decide whether a defendant is guilty, and if so, to then decide whether to impose the death penalty. In McGautha, the Court rules that it is constitutional for a jury to decide whether to impose the death penalty, rather than requiring jurors to decide based on rules set by the legislature. Concluding that it is impossible to set absolute standards about which defendants should live and which ones should die, the Court finds that the question should be decided case by case by the jury.