Furman v. Georgia (1972) and its implications on death penalty


Furmanv. Georgia (1972) and its implications on death penalty

TheFurman v. Georgia (1972) case had great implications in theapplication of death penalty or capital punishment. Furman was caughtin a robbery when he fired his arm and killed a victim. According tohim, he tripled and fired the gun accidently. In the then state law,Furman was eligible for death penalty because he was found guilty ofmurder and serious crimes. However, the court departed from itsearlier decisions by claiming that death penalty violated the 8thamendment on cruel and unusual punishment. The judge stated that sucha punishment was cruel and unusual same way as being struck bylighting is unusual and cruel. This means that it is not deathpenalty that is unusual, rather the way in which it is applied(Stefoff, 2007).

Thiscase impacted the death penalty in myriad of ways. Several stateschanged their capital punishments to comply with the Court’sdecision. Four years later, the case of Gregg v. Georgia (1976)brought a different light in death penalty (Roensch, 2007). Gregg wassentenced to death after going two trials one for determining hisguilty and the other for sentencing. The Georgia’s legislaturerevised its death penalty so that it could only be imposed when thejudge found aggravating factors. This new statute narrowed theclasses of murderers who should face death sentence. This processmade it clear that it did not violate the 8thamendment (Zimring, 2004).

Deathpenalty draws much attention in the contemporary society. Many stateshave conflicting views on the viability of death penalty. People andpolitical leaders are currently debating on whether death penaltyshould be imposed or departed. There are very few cases in whichdeath penalty is imposed even to high class criminals. The impositionof death should be narrowed to fit the 8thamendment and comply with the constitution and moral consensus.


Roensch,G. (2007). Furmanv. Georgia: Cruel and unusual punishment.New York: Chelsea House.

Stefoff,R. (2007). Furmanv. Georgia: Debating the death penalty.New York: Marshall Cavendish Benchmark.

Zimring,F. E. (2004). TheContradictions of American Capital Punishment.New York: Oxford University Press.