408 U.S. 238 (1972)
Petitioner prisoners were sentenced to death after being convicted of murder and rape in the States of Georgia and Texas. After direct review failed, the prisoners sought to attack their sentences collaterally through a writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court of Georgia and on certiorari to the Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas, arguing that the death penalty imposed by the States was illegal under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments.
The prisoners challenged the imposition of the death sentence in petitions for a writ of certiorari. The Court found that the key question was whether the imposition and carrying out of the death penalty under the laws applicable to the prisoners constituted cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments.
In reversing the judgments, the Court held that the death penalty did violate the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments because the application of the penalty was discretionary, haphazard, and discriminatory in that it was inflicted in a small number of the total possible cases and primarily against certain minority groups.
The judgments were reversed with directions to vacate the death sentences imposed, and the cases were remanded for further proceedings.
Recommended Supplements for Criminal Procedure Criminal Procedure: Examples & Explanations, Sixth Edition
Emanuel Law Outline: Criminal Procedure