FURMAN V. GEORGIA
In the history of Georgia, as well as in the rest of the United States, execution, or what is better known as the death penalty, was the result of a defendant found guilty in such crimes as murder and rape. In 1972, in the case of Furman v. Georgia the U.S. Supreme Court placed a moratorium, which is a delay or suspension of an activity or law, on the sentencing of Furman for capital punishment. They made the decision to end it in 1976, with the case of Gregg v. Georgia. Several court officials wrote that the use of capital punishment was cruel and unusual and it violated the 8th and the 14th amendments set by the U.S. Constitution. They also expressed similar concerns that it was racially targeting black defendants.
In the Furman v. Georgia case, the resident awoke in the middle of the night to find William Henry Furman committing robbery in his house. When Furman attempted to escape the home he dropped his gun. Upon hitting the ground, the gun discharged and killed the homeowner. The death was a freak accident that resulted in murder. At trial, in an unsworn statement, Furman said that while trying to escape, he tripped and the gun he was carrying fired accidentally, killing the victim. This contradicted his prior statement to police that he had turned and blindly fired a shot while fleeing. Either way, because the shooting occurred during the commission of a felony, Furman was still guilty of murder and eligible for the death penalty under the law at the time. He was tried and found guilty based largely on his own statement. He was sentenced to death, but the punishment was never carried out.
The death penalty was ruled illegal within the United States in 1976 as a result of the Furman v Georgia case. Later, in the case of Gregg v. Georgia, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty was allowed, but only in the event that the sentencing was delivered at the time of the trial and that the jury who had sentenced the...