Godfrey v. Georgia 446 U.S. 420 (1980)

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GODFREY v. GEORGIA 446 U.S. 420 (1980)

This is another case in which the Supreme Court reversed a death sentence because it was imposed under the state's standardless discretion: death for murder "outrageously or wantonly vile, or inhuman." Justice potter stewart for a plurality ruled that those words lacked objectivity and provided no principled basis for distinguishing the few cases in which death is imposed from the many in which it is not. Georgia's standard therefore placed no restraint on arbitrary and capricious infliction of the ultimate penalty. Two Justices argued that the death penalty is always cruel and unusual. Three found Georgia's standard unobjectionable.

Leonard W. Levy