A Moratorium on the Death Penalty

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A deeply divided Court ruled that the death penalty, as applied, violated the Eighth Amendments's ban on cruel and unusual punishment and the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause.  Basically, the Court found that poor people and minorities were more likely to receive death sentences than affluent or white defendants accused of similar crimes. To remedy the situation, the Court directed states to create clearer procedures and guidelines for judges and juries to follow in capital sentencing.


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