Morgan v. Illinois

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Morgan v. Illinois
Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg
Argued January 21, 1992
Decided June 15, 1992
Full case name Derrick Morgan v. State of Illinois
Citations 504 U.S. 719 (more)
112 S. Ct. 2222; 119 L. Ed. 2d 492; 1992 U.S. LEXIS 3548; 60 U.S.L.W. 4541; 92 Cal. Daily Op. Service 5037; 92 Daily Journal DAR 7962; 6 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 421
Prior history Certiorari to the Supreme Court of Illinois
Holding
A defendant facing the death penalty may challenge for cause a prospective juror who would automatically vote to impose the death penalty in every case
Court membership
Case opinions
Majority White, joined by Blackmun, Stevens, O'Connor, Kennedy, Souter
Dissent Scalia, joined by Rehnquist, Thomas
Laws applied
U.S. Const. amend. VI

Morgan v. Illinois, 504 U.S. 719 (1992), is a case decided by the United States Supreme Court.

Background[edit]

In an elaboration of the Witherspoon v. Illinois doctrine, the Rehnquist Court considered challenges to the selection of jurors who would automatically vote to impose the death penalty on a defendant convicted of a capital offense in Morgan v. Illinois in 1992. In a six-to-three decision Justice Byron White, speaking for the majority held that a defendant facing the death penalty may challenge for cause a prospective juror who would automatically vote to impose the death penalty in every case. Just as a juror who is unalterably opposed to the imposition of the death penalty must be excluded because he or she cannot conscientiously fulfill the oath to follow the law and the instructions to the jury pursuant thereto, so should one who would automatically vote to impose the death penalty be excluded for the same reason. Such a juror, he emphasized, would lack the qualities of impartiality and indifference required by due process. Furthermore, White noted, jurors who would automatically vote to impose the death penalty would not "in good faith ... consider evidence of aggravating and mitigating circumstances" as may be required by law and included in jury instructions.

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