‘Risk Of Death’ Can’t Be Price Of Right To Jury Trial

1968

In United States v. Jackson, the U.S. Supreme Court strikes the death penalty from the federal kidnapping law because, as written, the law allows the death penalty to be imposed only by a jury. If the case is tried before a judge, the sentence of death is not allowed. The Court concludes that this provision is unconstitutional because it forces defendants to give up their right to a jury trial to avoid the death penalty.