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Gilmore v. Utah
United States Supreme Court
429 U.S. 1012 (1976)
Gary Mark Gilmore was convicted of murder and sentenced to death by a Utah state court. His mother, Bessie Gilmore, purportedly acting as his “next friend,” filed an application for a stay in the United States Supreme Court four days before the scheduled execution. The Supreme Court granted a temporary stay awaiting Utah’s response and transcripts of the hearings. Meanwhile, Gilmore’s attorneys filed a response challenging his mother’s standing to seek relief on his behalf and stating that Gilmore opposed any stay. Review of the record revealed that his attorneys had informed Gilmore that he had a right to and substantial grounds for an appeal, and that the constitutionality of the Utah death penalty statute was questionable and could be challenged in either state or federal court. The trial court itself reiterated that the statute’s constitutionality had not been resolved, and that counsel for both the state and Gilmore would expedite an appeal to avoid delay. Gilmore repeatedly stated that he had received a fair trial, was well-treated by the Utah authorities, and did not profess innocence. Instead, his only complaint against Utah’s judicial process was the delay in carrying out his death sentence.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning
Concurrence (Burger, C.J.)
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