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Texas Capital Sentencing Procedure After Eddings: Some Questions Regarding Constitutional Validity

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Title: Texas Capital Sentencing Procedure After Eddings: Some Questions Regarding Constitutional Validity
Author: Benson, Daniel H.
Abstract: This article considers how the Supreme Court’s decision in Eddings v. Oklahoma will impact capital sentencing procedure in Texas. The Court in Eddings held that “[j]ust as the state may not by statute preclude the sentencer from considering any mitigating factor, neither may the sentencer, refuse to consider, as a matter of law, any relevant mitigating evidence.” Professor Benson contends that the Eddings raises serious questions about the constitutionality of the Texas capital sentencing procedure. After an introduction in section one, section two discusses the mitigating evidence at issue in Eddings. Section two discusses the Lockett v. Ohio rule, which is the rule the Court relied on in Eddings. Professor Benson predicts in this section that if the Lockett rule is rigorously applied to the Texas capital sentencing scheme, the Texas scheme will be declared unconstitutional under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. Section four is divided into three parts, each analyzing the Texas scheme in practice. The first part discusses the type of review provided by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in death cases; the second part discusses the problem of the trial court’s discretion in allowing mitigating evidence to come before the jury; finally, the third part discusses the problem of obtaining a meaningful response from the jury regarding the mitigating factors. The fifth section consists of a brief conclusion. In the conclusion, Professor Benson reinforces his argument that the present Texas statutory scheme for sentencing in capital cases is constitutionally inadequate under the Eight and Fourteenth Amendments in light of Lockett and Eddings.
Related Resources: Click to follow Hein Online link
Date: 1982

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