Logourl black
From our private database of 13,800+ case briefs...

Coker v. Georgia

United States Supreme Court
433 U.S. 584 (1977)


Facts

On September 2, 1974, Ehrlich Coker (defendant) escaped from a Georgia prison, where he had been serving time for various felonies, including murder, rape, kidnapping, and aggravated assault. That night, Coker entered the home of Allen and Elnita Carver. Mrs. Carver was sixteen years old. Coker threatened both of them, tied up Mr. Carver, and took Mr. Carver’s money, keys, and a knife from the kitchen. Coker proceeded to rape Mrs. Carver and then drove her away in Mr. Carver’s car. Mr. Carver managed to free himself and alert police, who quickly detained Coker. Coker was charged with a number of offenses, one of which was the rape of Mrs. Carver. Under Georgia law, rape is an offense punishable by death only if there are certain aggravating circumstances, as defined by statute. Accordingly, the jury was instructed that it could consider imposing the death penalty if it found that Coker had a prior conviction for a capital felony or if it found that the rape was committed during the commission of another capital felony. The jury found both aggravating circumstances existed, since Coker had previously been convicted of capital felonies and because the rape occurred during the commission of an armed robbery. The jury sentenced Coker to death for the rape. The Georgia Supreme Court affirmed, and the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

The rule of law is the black letter law upon which the court rested its decision. To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

Issue

The issue section includes the dispositive legal issue in the case phrased as a question. To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

Holding and Reasoning (White, J.)

The holding and reasoning section includes:

  • A “yes” or “no” answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

Concurrence/Dissent (Powell, J.)

The concurrence/dissent section is for members only and includes a summary of the judge’s concurrence in part and dissent in part. To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

Dissent (Burger, C.J.)

The dissent section is for members only and includes a summary of the dissenting judge or justice’s opinion. To access this section, start your 7-day free trial of Quimbee for Law Students.

What to do next…

  1. 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.

  2. 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 166,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 13,800 briefs, keyed to 187 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.