Enmund v. Florida 458 U.S. 782 (1982)

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ENMUND v. FLORIDA 458 U.S. 782 (1982)

Before this decision, nine states permitted infliction of the death penalty on one who participated in a felony resulting in a murder, even if committed by confederates. Earl Enmund drove the getaway car in a robbery at which codefendants killed the victims when he was not present and had not premeditated murder. A 5–4 Court held that the cruel and unusual punishment clause of the eighth amendment, which the fourteenth amendment extended to the states, prevented imposition of the death penalty. Capital punishment was disproportionate to the crime when Enmund had not himself killed, attempted to kill, intended to kill, or even intended the use of lethal force.

Leonard W. Levy