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Caldwell v. Mississippi
United States Supreme Court
472 U.S. 320, 105 S. Ct. 2633, 86 L. Ed. 2d 231 (1985)
Caldwell (defendant) killed the owner of a store during the course of a robbery. Caldwell was found guilty of murder. During the sentencing phase of the trial, Caldwell’s counsel presented mitigating evidence. Caldwell’s counsel also implored the jurors to show mercy and emphasized that Caldwell’s life was in their hands. The state attempted to minimize the significance of the jury’s responsibility by arguing that the final decision as to whether Caldwell would live or die rested with the appellate court. Defense counsel objected to the state’s discussion of the automatic review of any death sentence. The trial judge overruled the objection. The jury imposed a sentence of death. The Mississippi Supreme Court upheld the state’s comments regarding appellate review and affirmed the death sentence. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Marshall, J.)
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