United States Supreme Court
479 U.S. 538 (1987)
Albert Brown (defendant) was convicted by a jury at a capital trial of forcible rape and first-degree murder. Brown produced 13 character witnesses and testified himself, saying that he was ashamed of what he had done and pleading for mercy from the jury. At the close of evidence, the trial court instructed the jury to consider all aggravating and mitigating factors when determining the proper penalty and directed that the jury “must not be swayed by mere sentiment, conjecture, sympathy, passion, prejudice, public opinion or public feeling.” The jury sentenced Brown to death. On appeal, the California Supreme Court reversed Brown’s death sentence, finding that the court’s instruction denied Brown the right to have the jury consider the sympathy factor raised by the mitigating evidence. The state petitioned the United States Supreme Court for certiorari.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Rehnquist, C.J.)
Concurrence (O’Connor, J.)
Dissent (Blackmun, J.)
Dissent (Brennan, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.
Here's why 221,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,100 briefs, keyed to 189 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.