tv Landmark Cases Gregg v. Georgia CSPAN May 7, 2018 9:00pm-10:33pm EDT
>> the u.s. supreme court today ruled that the death penalty does not necessarily represent kroll and unusual punishment. they upheld the death penalty in texas., georgia, and by five-for the court struck down capital punishment laws and north carolina and louisiana. ♪ >> all persons having business before the supreme court of the united states are invited to go there and give their attention. >> landmark cases.
partnership with the national constitution center. exploring the stories and constitutional dramas between 12 historic supreme court decisions. >> mr. chief justice and made these the court -- >> that evening, welcome to c-span's landmark cases. tonight, the case of right versus georgia in 1976. in 1976.v. georgia in three states it was upheld, in louisiana and north carolina, the laws had been rewritten. it did not settle the death penalty debate, which has been going on ever since. tonight we will talk to people who spend a lot of time thinking about this. what the mood in american society was like, and what
legacy of these decisions have been. first introduce our guest. the co-author, with her brother, of a book about the supreme court and capital punishment. heard scheidegger -- kurt scheidegger is raced at an organization in sacramento. he and his organization up file or then 100 briefs. welcome. as we start out, the supreme court has heard many cases on the death penalty. what is it about gregg v. georgia that makes this a landmark case? court has rarely confronted the question of whether the debt penalty is not.itutional or most cases involve particular procedures and statutes. this case is girly grappling with the fundamental question of
the constitutionality of the death mlb. susan: what else do we know what about this? previously, the court struck down capital punishment as it was practiced in the united states. so it abolished capital punishment. so if the court had not backtracked, the united states would've a polished the death penalty roughly on the timeframe of our western democratic peers. so today, the united states is the only country in the world that still has the death penalty. the only western mock received. we would not be in that situation had the decision not .een overturned by gregg susan: we are learning about the constitution. there are three amendments that have something to do with this case. the fifthll, amendment. no person shall be held to
answer for capital or other infamous crime unless resented by grand jury, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of lopp. also, there's the 14th amendment. amendmenthall make an or enforce any law that will deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protections of laws. and in gregg v. georgia, in this, were all of these amendments under consideration? >> because the court was reconsidering the decision of foreman, mostly that eighth amendment was at stake. that was the amendment that was set aside. the eighth amendment only applies to the states as opposed to the federal governmennm
through the due process clauses. >> the additional reason, the due process and protection clause argument by the supreme court in 1971. the court had been upheld. host: we are start by listening to two justices. justice breyer and justice theia, talking about definition of cruel and unusual in the eighth amendment. let's listen. >> at the time of the founding. here-notching, pillorying. ear-notching, pillorying.
some of that stuff is stupid. it cannot be the test. >> the word "cruel" and "unusual," it is possible over time people have a definition that might be different of the words. >> he wanted to change its meaning. it was a one-way street. we get more gentle overage, not more cruel. but it is not -- whatever you think is cruel is cruel, not what the founders thought was cruel. what if you begin to think things are not cruel that they thought were cruel. they thought some things were bad that nowadays, are not so bad. is that all of the eighth
amendment means? to thine own self he true? don't do with anything you think is cruel. we have our own notions of kroll. that cannot be what it meant. .- cruel once you agree to that, it sets a standard in both directions. susan: that is a great piece of tape because you really see the arguments on the court about the meaning of the constitution. what is your reaction? >> i think the real question, and it is an ongoing debate, is how much we should interpret the constitution the way the framers would have interpreted it when the constitution was ratified. do not think an analogy such as this 1 -- supposedly your great grandmother in 1930, her children and her children's children were using money to a
healthy food. back in 1930 or so, healthy food was red meat, whole fat dairy, and eggs. today you are trying to be faithful to that request, to use it for a healthy food, might not be considered to be steak and eggs and milk. the idea is, you are being faithful to the meaning of the will, if youor a interpret it over time as ideas change. susan: the writing of the founders, do we have any sense of what they put into this amendment? what was their thought of her ?orolla and unusual event >> that was an outlier, that was not the argument of that defenders of the constitution as meant,what the founders
i think they were using a term english understood in law. unusual meant outside the normal uses of the law. i think unusual can change over time. i think the practices they were mentioning were usual at the time of the founding but are unusual today, having been universally rejected. but that is it different than saying the court can decide on its own if something is cruel and unusual. >> the death penalty has been part of our societies since the earliest recorded execution. captain george kendall was executed right a firing squad for spying on behalf of the spanish and allegedly made of crimes. to learn more about history of the death penalty in the united alcatraze visited the
museum in tennessee. we learned more details about capital punishment over the centuries. locatedrime museum is in tennessee. we used to be an washington, d.c. it has always been working through an effort to make execution more humane. in our capital punishment gallery we have discussed what was used in europe, burning at the stake, beheading, drawn and goryered, all of those things. in the united states, first it was hanging. it was always trying to make execution more humane and painless. the electric chair from the tennessee state prison is called old smokey. 125 executions. it was made from wood from the
former gallows and made by the prisoners. the electric chair is often sort of a joke, but it is true was developed by a dentist. chair.ng a dentist because he felt that using the modern invention of electrocution would be more modern and hanging. the first electrocution was in 1890 in new york. william himmler was executed for murdering his wife with a hatchet. it did not quite go as planned. it did not go as fast as they work anticipating. george westinghouse said they would have been better if they had used an ax. this is a reproduction based on the chambers in wyoming, if you look up photos it looks similar because it was based on the original. the gas chamber was only used
relatively briefly. it was first used in nevada in 1924 a first tried to use it by filling a cell of a prisoner with gas. they were trying to kill him while he slept. because it was not airtight, the air escaped and it was not exactly say for the prison guards and other employees, so they work a lot at refining the method. that it never really caught on, partly because of the danger posed to witnesses and guards. guards were not really comfortable with that. and comment to lot longer than they thought -- and it took a lot longer. it never really replaced the electric chair. electric chairs were used commonly as an alternative. susan: later we will return to learn more about the methods. before we talk about the supreme court cases, i want to tell you
about involving you in the discussion. we would very much like your participation. if you live in the eastern are essential time zones, you can on thes at the numbers screen. also for mountain and pacific, the numbers on the screen. you can also reach us with your twitter comments. i have three cases of notes on earlier punishment cases. what should we know about earlier cases? powell a lawyer for an indigent defendant. we found out later, that is one of your landmark cases.
they case i mentioned earlier address the question of whether the system of unguided discretion and juries, that is they had the authority to decide capital punishment or not without any guidance or instruction, that violated the due process or equal protection clauses. that was decided the year before in favor of upholding those systems. and,or many came along -- one came the previous year decided by a 5-4 decision. susan: what was happening to public opinion. the court was picking up cases and position? >> public opinion in united states mirrored public opinion
in the world. the death penalty came under increasing attack. many of our countries abolished the death penalty in the 1960's and that was that beginning of a strong movement in europe and elsewhere to abolish the death penalty. pollinggallup organization showed that for the first time in history, more people opposed the death penalty than supported it in 1966 of many people thought we were coming to the end of capital punishment in the united states. >> the gallup poll graph actually kind of mirrors the crime rate. if you look, it supports the death penalty. they tend to rise and fall together. susan: the question for both of as the justices will
always tell you they are immune to public opinion but in fact, especially in this case, do they really take the temperature of the american public has they are deciding these cases? carol: not sure they do and i think particularly when they are looking at cases under the eighth amendment which deals with cruel and unusual punishment, the test was whether it violated the evolving standards of decency. the eighthnder amendment that the court took the temperature of prevailing is yours susan: what opinion? >> the court does take into consideration the legislative two -- too form an --
furman. ofhink that is the geisha what is considered acceptable. susan: humbly states reacted? 35 states reacted. >> there was actually a backlash to furman in the 1970's. i think it was the timing of that that the court had honed its decision at a time of crime and fear of terrorism. i think of the court had made the same decision that a different time, we may not have seen the same kind of backlash. more aboutlook learn the pieces joined together in these rulings but before we do, let's hear from some callers. from orlando, on the air. caller: hello.
great show. i wanted to know, does a person's legal status of any airing on whether they can be -- executedecuted and our country? >> you have to be convicted of murder and whether you have a .riority conviction and that we mean by "legal status" -- yes. caller i wanted to know why we caller: i want to know why we keep feeding these cold-blooded killers and letting them live and why we put them in there with other criminals that are not killers and then have to put up with all of that. argument yous an can all here, it costs a lot to incarcerate people for life and it is less expensive to meet out there punishment. what did those numbers really the us about the cost of
death penalty? >> it turns out to be the opposite. i suppose there was a time in history when it was less expensive. many states have studied their capital justice systems is lesss clear that it expensive than capital punishment to incarcerate someone for life. much more expensive and that is why think there has been such a the deathuse of penalty. susan: is it legal challenges? carol: much of it has to do with the required process they grow out of the great decision. the supreme court has said there are certain procedures now mandated by the constitution. prior to the 19 70's in for
members gregg, there was no regulation. and for to the 1970's urman and gregg, there was no regulation. constitutional stew structure the process. >> many of the studies are flawed. disputed.e as far as the cost of the links of time, many of the procedures we have take too long. the billiard to comply with the law congress has already passed to deal with that as part of the problem. whole cost argument is very complex. been: new studies in of done have been done by the states themselves, not partisan
groups. these are states trying to understand how much they are spending. the state studies have revealed the tremendous cost. we have a viewer who wants to clarify the question. at first the caller met legal citizenship. is there any distance -- difference in the law? it does not matter country of origin. florida, go ahead please. caller: i had a question about the constitutionality in the supreme court involving the military death and all too also the status of terrorists facing the death penalty. kent: with regard to the death penalty, congress can specify some of the requirements for the death penalty. that was a case called loving
theus the united states and decision was, yes, the united states was valid. about that?ow more carol: the military death penalty is subject to the same constitutional roles as the death penalty in criminal courts. susan: to someone in military courts has the same right of appeal? carol: yes. susan: to georgia case, which gave the entire decision it needed, involved troy leon reg. kent: he was out hitchhiking. two men picked up gregg and another man as they were hitchhiking. one of the men had a wad of cash on them. the men saw. at one point, they decided to take a pitstop on the side of the road. the two men come of the driver he friend. as they came back up, they took
the car and wad of money. the other case is a case from florida. manas a burglary in which a stabbed a homeowner through the heart with a butcher knife. not too many details are known. , a man hadase expressed a desire to have sex with young girls. girl, wendy a young adams, driving her away from a public park screaming "help me, ," and there is dispute of what happened there but he killed her and threw her body in the river. susan: another is a north carolina case. ofol: robert was convicted
telling a gas station attendant named richard lowe in lake charles, louisiana, in 1974. james woodson, and north carolina, was convicted of playing a part in a murder. his part was to drive the getaway car. it was his codependent who robbed a store and killed a store owner, surely butler. under the law of north carolina, if someone died during the course of a felony that was "felony murder" and everyone involved, whether or not they were the killers, were considered murderers. in louisiana and north carolina, under the new laws that were passed after the furman decision in 1972, the death penalty was mandatory. it was never given to a jury to
decide, it was mandated by statute if you are convicted of a capital crime you would toomatically be sentenced death. susan: so what is the difference in the two states? kent: mandatory sentence upon conviction for a particular crime. the sentence automatically follows versus the discretion where the jury has allowed to decide but given guidance on how to approach the decision. susan: how often does the court take cases together in a block? unusual.at is quite kent: i don't know of any other case. susan: do we know why? kent: i suppose because there was a variety of legislative reactions. had left these lock confused because it had five separate opinions. nobody really knew what the law
was or what was required, permitted. so there was a lot of different laws in different states. a spectrum. susan: we're going to move on and take some work calls. -- take some more calls. in 1976. eisenhower appointees include william brenner -- brennan and potter stewart. goodon appointee there martial and nexen appointee, chief justice warren burger along with harry blackmun and ford appointee, and president ford was an opposite 1976. arguments were heard over two days, march 30 and march 31. they had more than four hours of oral arguments.
is that a surprise considering a had for cases? can't: had prosecution and defense attorneys for each case and then to defendants. susan: a question for both of you, what was the overall court --of the burger berger court toward criminal justice cases? did it establishes sort of worldview during its time? carol: many people talk about the counterrevolution wrought by the berger court. the warring court had been known for bringing many procedural. n court had been known for bringing many procedural changes.
the extension in the right to a jury trial which had not been mandated till 1968. the requirement for a right to counsel in all cases, which has also not been extended to all states. arren court the w procedural changes. the berger court try to walk that back. susan: what are some of the criminal justice cases the court took on that established its reputation? kent: i don't think it qualifies as a counterrevolution. they did not push much further. there was some cutbacks but i think on the whole it was a -- after the huge change that happened during the warren court era., thegood faith exception to
exclusionary rule, for example. we saw some exceptions to the miranda rule, but the main miranda rule is still there. changes, but not a huge one. not a revolutionary change in direction. susan: let's return to your questions. caller: should the supreme court even be reviewing the death penalty as unconstitutional? should not the courts have let that to the states as to crime and punishment outside the realm >> i think the constitutionality of it was fairly quickly or clear.
the constitution does address punishment. there cannot be no cruel unusual punishment. but it does not give us much guidance. that leaves it in the hands of the justices. theyare admittedly what call the majestic generalities of the constitution. the unreasonable search and seizure clause. none of these things are self defining. the court has to do what is best to give them meaning. air, welcome. >> let's move on to jerry and portland, oregon.
the death penalty has an unusual angle. by hiser was murdered second wife. she shot him at the base of the skull while eating breakfast. she was convicted of murder and sentenced to six years probation. it was an abusive nature. when this occurred i began studying the death penalty. it has become apparent to me that the reasonable person would
take anybody that has committed find outime, find out, what they are creating factors did theyt environment mature in that would enable them to commit such a crime, and look for ways to avoid re-creating -- for thenment to future. carol: thank you for telling us your life story how old were you? >> 38 years old. i think to the extent that you want to change the circumstances for people in the future that is a worthy thing to do. but the crime has already
it ised and how to punish a prevention for the future. is audying death row poverty andwhat deprivation breeds in our society. the defendants who and up there are the poorest of the poor families. often with cognitive impairments, untreated mental health conditions, the subject of horrific childhood neglect and abuse. if we want to prevent the crimes the caller has a good point. we should address those conditions. josh next to hear from you tonight. thinkquestion is do you the court risks losing its
credibility? i can think of one other example in the course of a three-year. period.ee year i do think that is an issue. point.s a it was very hard to know what he meant. pointing out that the supreme court seemed most concerned about the absence of direction to juries in applying the death penalty. 1976 did notin really have to overturn any that gardnerlding five votes in 1972.
gardnered five votes in 1972. looked at the time it probably more complicated than that. and i think it has been a continuing problem. the court has contradicted itself. contradicted itself several more times. it takes time to build a lasting and just system of capital punishment. has been the biggest single problem of capital punishment. the court has just been all over the map with capital punishment.
changing its mind of what is required, permitted. >> i do think from the very get-go there were justices brennan and marshall. this was a clear position that the clear -- that the death penalty violated human dignity, they said. then you have chief justice berger and other justices who said really, we have no business saying anything to the states. getting into this regulatory position, because they should just be free to have the death penalty as they see fit. this gets us to gregg. the justices that got together to form the plurality in gregg.
it kind of take a mend approach. they needed the abolitionist vote or the leave it all alone vote. they swung back and forth between these two poles. of casesled to a set that it is very hard to make much sense of. welcome. >> thank you. my question is with the growth of the lethal injection. challengesof the based on the compounds that are used and what i have never understood is i've seen many animals put down withunderstoods
that are very quick to act that are very painless. change itthey just over to what veterinarians use? kent: they have, but there is a problem. pharmaceutical industry has become very international and some of these compounds are important. the companies from europe have been under pressure. under pressure to not allow these products. states thesome and there isd do, a problem with obtaining the drugs. susan: i am struck by your description of the blocks that existed in the courts. how much do the arguments
matter? carol: i think often the arguments do not matter. i think often the justices have made up their minds ahead of time. but sometimes they do. i had experiences when i was a law clerk that it was quite clear that oral argument did make a difference. most cases are primarily decided on the briefs. there may be cases where arguments make a difference. after listening to the audio of all these arguments i doubt that the arguments made much difference in this case. susan: let's listen to the georgia argument. he argued on behalf of troy gregg. representing the state was g thomas davis,'s attorney
this.l, let's listen to carol we willack, ask you to tell us what you have heard. let's listen in. he admitted to kill the people. but he said he did it in self-defense. the jury rejected it and that apparently is the end of it. he is still suffering the date -- the death penalty. 1973 law, was an attempt to meet requirements and it has not done it -- was an attempt to meet furman and it has not done it.
it still leaves the discretion both in the prosecution. i submit to you, whether it is would be theg, i first to admit that some discretion must be vested in a prosecuting attorney. we must have it. but is that to be unlimited? what is being complained of is arhe eighth amendment britrariness in fact. arbitrariness or a system that led to the arbitrariness in fact, or the wonton and freakish imposition of a death sentence was what was unconstitutional.
so, he said spared for no without rhymeis, or reason. what hass the standard been shown about the georgia procedure? has arbitrariness been ?emonstrated to any degree we maintain that we must be avoided in the wonton and freakish imposition, not that anyone who should get a death sentence are even shown escaping. arel: what the lawyers arguing about is whether georgia had done a good enough job to the concerns that the court had expressed for years previously.
you have to understand that prior to the decision, the weight total sentencing looked in the united states, is that juries were given absolute and complete discretion. at a capital trial the instruction to the jury would be you have heard the case, now it is up to you to render a sentence and whether to give the death penalty or a sentence of ise in prison, that decision in your sole discretion according to your conscience. that was a understood to be the key problem in furman v. georgia. then you georgia statute said you needed to find one from a list of aggravating factors. something to make a crime worse.
then, the jury was to consider whether there were any mitigating factors that caused -- that called for sentences less than death. the lawyer for georgia was saying that it was. the lawyer arguing on behalf of gregg was arguing that it was not. actually dealty with the discretion the jury had in sentencing. it did not deal with the discretion that prosecutors had. if there was a problem with the discretion it only addressed one piece of it. kent: it is kind of strange. hear lawyers arguing that a statute is unconstitutional because the actors in the system have too much ability to spare someone from the death penalty,
and all the years since, we have been dealing with the exact reverse, argument that there is not enough discretion. it is really quite opposite to what the sites have been about ever since. susan: let's move on to our second bit of oral argument. , and on behalf of louisiana, the district attorney james bavin. i will ask about anthony amsterdam. attorney in the furman case. kent: he argued for three of the defendants. texas, louisiana, and one of the other cases.
he was kind of the lead attorney. the others had other attorneys. susan: let's listen to a portion of the oriole -- oral argument. this court said it was different. it seems to me that there is no doubt that this court did not down in furman sentences of life imprisonment. secondly, the legislatures of thattates have recognized death is different and this is the thrust of my point. furman, 35ponding to legislatures have come back with this narrow and technical approach allowing the forward
and straight, careful when knowing procedures that allow wholesale outlet. death is different. the legislatures say it is different. in the case of a first-degree murder case it has find every element of that crime before they can return a verdict of guilty. prove eache fails to and every one of those elements then he of course, is instructed to return a verdict of not list ofr given a responsive verdicts that he can return. the state has proven that he committed a crime, they have not proven that he committed a crime of first degree murder. they have proven beyond reasonable doubt all of the elements of another crime.
the jury can bring in a responsive verdict of the particularly time that is proven to it beyond a reasonable doubt. kent: what the attorney is saying is that the jury can return a verdict for a lesser degree of offense than first-degree murder. that is probably one of the main reasons the louisiana statute was struck down. you cannot eliminate discretion from the system. return a verdict when they know it is really first degree just to avoid the death penalty they can do that. but that is arbitrary. amsterdam of course is continuing with his theme that there is too much discretion in the system. too much discretion in the
system even with the mandatory statute. susan: as you here for the first time in amsterdam's argument there is that it is different. carol: saying that even for life. and it iserity, different. the court has used that over, and over again. making special rules for capital trials that do not apply in ordinary criminal trials. susan: let's go back to our viewers. here is a tweet. asked has -- a viewer there been a case to be too lenient and then found to be cruel and unusual?
as far as i know there has never been an idea that something could be too lenient. it could not be described as cruel if it was too lenient. know, that has not been applied in that context. kent: there is a relation between what is constitutional and cruel and unusual and what society views as a proper punishment for the crime. there is a disproportionality aspect to these cases. this the or asks is it true that prison is kinder than the death penalty? carol: it is not entirely clear that prison is kinder. that lifes often say in prison is often a crueler sentence then death.
the incarcerated would have to dwell on the harm that they did. there is some debate about that. about which is a worst sentence. although, most defendants say the vast majority of capital defendants seek to have their sentences become set aside and become life sentences instead. that indicates that for people who are facing the prospect, most of them would prefer to conditionsin the that life imprisonment takes place under. there are very few, we call them volunteers, who want to drop their appeals and accept their fate. they are sometimes not able to drop their appeals due to mental
state. a goodo not think it is argument to say that life in prison is worst. >> welcome to landmark cases. you guyswondering what thought about the trump administration calling for the death penalty for drug crimes. kent: it will not happen. more political rhetoric than a serious proposal. the justice department came out with further guidance that they will not seek legislation and be required to do that. they will make more effective use of the authority. it does not require a murder. it is hard to know whether to take attorney general sessions at his word that this is what he wants the justice department to
be moving toward. it would certainly be a great departure from the use of the death penalty in recent decades. it would put us more in line with the use of the death penalty in some of the more repressive or genes around the world where drug dealers are routinely executed. high, i have 3 -- hi, i have three quick points. one, if you are white and rich you almost never get the death penalty. second, it is inequitable. third, there is no evidence that capital punishment is more of a deterrent than life in prison. my state of missouri, is the fourth highest homicide rate in the country with the death penalty state.
almost certainly innocent people have been put to death. i would like reflection on those points. susan: thank you very much. kent: let's say. deterrence go, experts disagree as to how persuasive they are. it is cert -- it has certainly been proven it is not a deterrent. as far as the execution of innocent people i do not believe it has been demonstrated. the first point, rich and white people who have been sentenced to death, we have a new jersey case that a person who was a big-time political player was convicted to death and he got off death row when the rules
changed. but he was sentenced to death. anything more to add? >> i tend to agree. the viewer has read much of the evidence that supports this point. carol: ultimately none of the studies alone or together make out a case of a the terrance affect. terrance -- detterance effect. it has been essentially debunked by this expert. kent: debunked is too strong a word.
there is expert disagreement. it has been essentially debunked franklin,e, from tennessee. >> i'm here. with the use of the guillotine, would that be cruel and unusual punishment? kent: it would certainly be unusual. i do not think anything like that will come back in the united states. susan: george in pittsburgh. >> i was wondering if the term with theas to do ability toor the charge someone with the penalty? unusual meanand separate things.
cruel whatever that is, were unusual, whatever that is. that is.l, whatever the court has never really made it clear. it often talks as if it is one thing, cruel and unusual. susan: let's move on to the court decision in this case. decision that the death penalty did not violate the eighth amendment and georgia , florida, and texas laws were constitutional. or louisiana, etc., unconstitutional. to the cents, brendan and
marshall. this is from nbc nightly news announcing the decision to the public. >> it has been said that the court follows the election returns and there is evidence that may be so. 10 years ago more americans opposed the death penalty then favored it. a new poll shows that has slung around. oppose the dental the -- the penalty. susan: going back to that question, watching the news report what do you have to add? kent: the polling might have to -- might have had some influence to the continuous jump in support after the furman decision. it was more a legislative reaction then it was the polling.
enactment and a brief span of four bank years is a tidal wave of legislative expression. the court indicated in the opinion that this powerful is almost areaction trump card against the argument. it is almost contrary to the views of the american people. where do you look? to yourself? i think that was the primary influence. what is thee we go, significance of the court carol: it does happen. it is sometimes hard to get five justices to agree with the reasoning for a judgment. fore are always a majority
the result and the court can only a firm or reject the lower court, but the justices don't only agree on why. the pluralities are not an unusual thing. susan: here is a little of what the plurality said. you would say? carol: the grounds for the court back, ifto roll this you are looking to state legislative judgment, if that is the standard, 35 states is a lot. about to understand more
the split with north carolina and louisiana, here is an excerpt from that plurality. you would say? this is consistent with the historical record of how the death penalty has involved in america before mandatory -- before this is consistent with the historical furman, mandatorh sentences were virtually unknown. enacted mandatory laws because they interpreted furman as requiring it.
it is true that mandatory death sentences for an enlarged number of murderers will sweep in a lot of people. most people think they don't deserve the death penalty. the court is correct that discretion is the better way to go. susan: two dissented from the decision. here is an excerpt from justice marshall. they were part of the block object to this from a moral standpoint. does this continue to muddy the waters on the view of the death penalty?
carol: it is interesting you bring up the aspect of this dissent. i never thought it was a good argument. says, it is not what people actually think. if they were fully informed about the death penalty, it is what they would think. it is kind of a condescending argument. it is arguing with someone and saying, if you were as informed as i am, you would agree with me. not very persuasive. me. not very persuasive. what is stunning about that argument, and i have made fun of it over the years in my classrooms, teaching the death ,enalty in court and in classes .t turns out to be true theices who dealt with
death penalty have changed their views about it, including some of the major players in gregg, including justices stevens, apple, and blackmun -- and powell and blackmon. they agreed with justice marshall that the death penalty was on constitutional -- un constitutional. marshall's idea that those who know about the death penalty was not to be supported added weight on the court. in atlanta for the georgia case, you can see the headlines. state deathupholds penalty." you can see the same act the "picayune -- at the
"picayune." kent: it was a big issue. capital punishment has always been controversial. there was a support for capital punishment. it became a significant issue in 1988 in the presidential election. it was a big deal. happened tois what the prisoners in this case. roberts and woodson were resentenced. gregg, the prisoner who gave his name to the case, williams in -- in florida, the other prisoners remained on death row. let's get to calls. kerry. -- sorry about that.
we will move on to oral in ottawa, illinois -- earl in ottawa, illinois. caller: what is the average cost for holding -- four appeals- -- for appeals? differentcost is a thing to calculate and i don't have a reliable feed on that. carol: it is very much state to state. fe.n: tony and santa -- tony in santa fe. caller: i would like to disagree with a statement about people not being innocent. 162 cents 1976
since 1976. illinois has the highest rate of overturned convictions. there isou say that not a chance we have killed even don'tsince the courts seem to want to listen or challenge anything after a person has been killed? kent: your question was about a person who was innocent who was actually executed. the number you refer to is a claim of innocence, of people then hisconvicted and convictions were subsequently reversed. -- these convictions were subsequently reversed. that number is widely inflated.
having people convicted and released is a different matter than people being executed who are in fact innocent. susan: joe is up next. austin, texas. caller: you were talking earlier about the death penalty as a deterrent to the general population. sociologists talk about this a lot. iso from the standpoint, would like to know your opinion abourt the victims getting resolution by the fact of knowing the perpetrator of the murder, especially haneous murders, getting closure knowing the murderer will never be able to commit murders again.
manse in texas where a committed three murders, he had been released twice and recommitted. with the death penalty, the murderer can't ever recommit. i wanted to know your opinions on that. carol: i think the prime victims are an important -- crime victims are an important factor. there are many crime victims who would prefer there not to be a death penalty. that was an issue in the recent boston marathon bombing trial in massachusetts, where i am from. the victims,r of including the family that was most impacted, that lost a child to the bombers, did not want the death penalty, because they felt the long appeals the defendant in that case would get should the death sentence be imposed
would keep him in the public eye and make him a martyr in the way they did not want him to be. victims are quite varied in how they view a death sentence and what is for them in terms of closure. it is hard to reach one conclusion. members and murder victims are my clients. them, the final execution is an important moment, when it is absolutely final that the person has been punished for his crime, and they will never harm anyone else. they are very much interested to see that carried out. the appeals do not need to be as dragged out as they are, and that is an important part of our work. there is no efficient resolution to these cases. susan: california, welcome. deterrence,tive to
are any of your panel members aware of any studies on deterrence and the death penalty ? saudi arabia, where justice is swift and sure. are you aware of any studies? ent: even across american states, it is difficult. differences other than the death penalty that interfere with the problem. to compare this across different cultures like the u.s. and saudi arabia, you would not be able to draw meeting phil -- meaningful conclusions because the societies are so different. study was done comparing singapore and hong kong, two societies that are relatively similar to one another, demographically, crime rates, etc.. one have the death penalty and one didn't over 10 or 20 years.
the homicide rate went up and down virtually in unison. that was an interesting international study that seemed to suggest having the death penalty or not was not what was driving homicides up and down in those countries, despite otherwise similar situations. susan: here is what happened to the five criminals who were basically appealing their cases for the supreme court. theill start on gregg, namesake in the case. here is what happened to him, next. [video clip] the albany georgia herald got a phone call from gregg, who sentenced had been issued in 1976, when the u.s. supreme court upheld georgia's death penalty law. hegg told a reporter that
and three other inmates had sought through bars and escaped. reporter called the warden of the maximum-security prison. men were shown present and accounted for. but it was learned later in the day the death row murderers had indeed escaped. the ones who escaped monday were all accounted for. three surrendered in north carolina. the fourth was found in a nearby river. an unhappy life came to a violent end. escape happened the day before his execution was to take place. none of the other prisoners met the death penalty. jerry received a petition for retrial. hisonvinced the court confession was problematic. he has been denied parole 17 times. he is still alive.
the second, a career counseling service in baton rouge louisiana. he owns a home. liam's sentence was commuted by governor bob graham, and died at the age of 66 in 2012. n was released from prison 18 years after the decision and served as a voluntary prison chaplain. what do you take away from this? released,e folks are and didn't reoffend. our best prediction of his life is so -- of whose life is so blighted as to be ready of extinguishment may not be so reliable. kent: these cases have different takeaways. strayed were a
product of the mandatory sentencing systems. strange. cvasase is the other case, the confession issue, was one on the edges of the law. a lot of judges looked at it and a lot disagreed. they ended up deeply divided. a part of the last court of appeals to look at the case. capital cases receive a lot of closer scrutiny than other cases. tohe hadn't been sentenced death, he probably would have not been -- would not have gotten the first conviction overturned on that basis. then: what happened with death penalty in the u.s., if you were alive in 1977, you will remember the case of gary gilmore, the first person executed following the decision.
he met his death by firing squad in utah. have the death penalty today. 4 have a governor imposed moratorium. 19 states do not. here are death row statistics. 1470 four convicted criminals who have been executed. at the end of 2017, 2,817 are awaiting execution on death row. nine people have been executed across the united states in 2018. we will return to the alcatraz east museum and learn about the current means of execution and to some of the controversies. the lethal injection machine we have on display is part of a two-set piece, the control module, which has two sets of all buttons, two sets of
executioners hit the exact same buttons they push to release the drugs. they don't know which one of them is actually really containing the lethal dose. we are always looking for new ways to approve -- improve on the electric chair. -- that the machine renders the victim unconscious before death makes it more humane. the lethal injection machine was first used in 1982 in texas using a combination of three which in combination causes unconsciousness and then death. the drugs used in lethal injection are made in european -- and the european union. in 2011, they stopped selling these drugs to the united states because of the practice of capital punishment. these drugs became less
available. states thaten some have moved to a one-drug method. there has been a number of court cases related to that, because some prisoners have felt they are being experimented on, that they have problems with this method, that the prisoners have not been rendered unconscious or it has taken a long time for them to die. it has been considered inhumane. this has led to some states reinstating the electric chair as a secondary option if these drugs are not available. susan: we discussed the availability of these drugs earlier. i would like to explain the supreme court process before an inmate is put to death. takesthe supreme court cases in its discretion from ts,e courts -- lower cour
state and federal. it can go through both systems and does not have to go through the lower federal courts first before going to the supreme court. what happens in the last days election, inmates file repeated petitions challenging sentences. they do this in state courts and federal courts. they filede denied, last in the u.s. supreme court. hear these dramatic stories of the 11th hour, when a single justice refuses whether or not an execution goes forward. how does that work? carol ivanka decisions that need ot of decisions
that come before the supreme court, the lower courts have to finish their revealed before the supreme court does theirs. it is often in the last moments be supreme court is called in, when other courts have done their work. we always had to have a clerk there until the decision was made, often in the middle of the night. we were instructed to call justice marshall at home, although the other justices were also home, to render his decision. even though he and justice stayan always voted to every execution, we still had to wake them up and say, now is the time for your vote. they would say, you know my vote. we did what needed to be done. susan: 10 minutes left to go in our conversation. justin, new york. onler: i wanted your opinion
the death penalty regarding military law. is there a difference between civilian law? and what is high treason and treason? : the military has a different review system from the civilian courts. the law being applied as far as penalties is pretty much the same. i don't think anyone has been convicted of treason in a long time. susan: gary in newport beach, california. welcome. my question has to do with the moral standards and compassion and the country bc -- the controversy over executions. this has to do with, ken states can states be held
accountable for applying penalties?thods of and i am trying to put into context criminals in a small population. remarked as caller to whether or not we can execute with the way they put down animals, or give them carbon monoxide, or something like that. and the extensive focus we as a society put on this matter -- i want to put this into the context of another small population of citizens who are innocent. they have administered drugs and hospitals that are known to be fatal. and the drug manufacturers don't do a very good job of filtering
out people who had adverse reactions. there is a long drawn out execution for these people, but no protocols for putting them down and ending their suffering. you.: gary, thank 10 states be held accountable for the methods they use to administer the death penalty? -- can states be held accountable for the methods they use to administer the death penalty? rol: there has been a challenge to lethal injection protocols, neither of which courts found a problem with. neither of those cases had it.ices dissenting from the supreme court will review another case from missouri about
whether an inmate there who has a serious medical condition that will make the lethal injection particularly gruesome in -- and painful, whether that is constitutional. susan: we have had wonderful tweets from all of the debated consequences of the death penalty. is a good reason to be thorough and complete in the conviction of the guilt and the actual guilt of the defendant. susan: you have talked about how many times the court has revisited this. there was the case in ohio in 1978. what was important about that? : there was a rejection of the mandatory death penalty. it was not enough.
the court required that juries hear any and all mitigating evidence that might lead to a death sentence. a woman was driving the getaway car of robbers. and didout in the car not participate in the shooting of a business owner. even though she offered something less than murder, she rejected it and ended up getting the death penalty. of thereme court said statute did not allow the consideration of her age or the lack of a prior criminal record that prevented the things it needed to hear in that case. susan: what about the kemp case? was conducted on behalf of the naacp.
looked forudy that discrimination on the basis of the defendant's race, and did not find it. case, it went up on appeal on the assumption the ov what -- the study pr its author said. ed the supreme court said you cannot win a case on those global statistics. you have to show discrimination in a particular case. susan: 2002, a 6-3 decision declaring unconstitutional executions for those with intellectual disabilities. case08, the simmons declaring unconstitutional executions for victims committing crimes under the age of 18. we will have you listened to justice blackmon talking about
his view on capital punishment. [video clip] >> did the death penalty change at all over the years, or remain the same? >> i think it remained the same. if the states wanted it this way, through the expressions of the legislature, they were entitled to have it that way. finally, the case a year or so ago, i still felt the same. i looked at it from the point of application of the death penalty. it could not be administered and equald in line with protection and due process. think your: do you happy time had more faith in a fair administration?
blackmon: letting the trial, that was a mistaken position to take. i was later convinced they could not rationally apply it. susan: there was one justice making an intellectual evolution in his position on the death penalty. we have about a minute left for each of our guests and a closing argument. this is a very important topic our country has been grappling founding. its where do you see this debate going in the united states, specifically with the regard to the constitutionality of the death penalty? carol: the use of the death penalty in our country in the last 20 years has fallen off a cliff. 300 sentences a year and almost 100 executions
in the 1990's. today we have maybe 30 death sentences a year and maybe 20 executions, down from the peak 1990's. it shows the direction our country is moving in. i think the death penalty is withering on the fine. susan: kent? kent: we have executions for two reasons. there are murderers, and prosecutors and juries are being more selective to seek and impose the death penalty. i think the support for the death penalty in the very worst murder cases remains solid. i think the constitutional question was correctly answered in gregg vs. georgia. our 12th case cases."son in "landmark a special thanks to the national constitution center for their help. and to our viewers for talking
about the issues and guess we would bring to the table this season, and for the cause and tweets tonight. thank you for being here. and thank you for sharing your expertise with our audience. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] announcer: net next monday, on regents of that
university of california, with a white man twice rejected says he was passed over in favor of less qualified minority applicants. he took them to court. struck downcourt the administration programs and upheld the constitutionality of it in the 14th amendment. randy barnett, professor at center in hand an originalist constitutional legal scholar will be commentator. 9:00 next monday at eastern and join the conversation. websiteresources on our for background.
also, a link to the national constitutional center national constitution. c-span.org\landmark cases. >> c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies and bring you atinue to unfolded coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court, and public policy events in washington, d.c., and around the country. c-span is brought to you by your cable or satellite provider. >> up next, president trump's former chief of staff joins journalists bob woodward and carl bernstein for discussion on the american residency in leadership. this was moderated by former