List of United States Supreme Court opinions involving capital punishment

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The U.S. Supreme Court has issued numerous rulings on the use of capital punishment (the death penalty). While some rulings applied very narrowly, perhaps to only one individual, other cases have had great influence over wide areas of procedure, eligible crimes, acceptable evidence and method of execution.

Eighth Amendment[edit]

Method of execution[edit]

Specific crimes[edit]

  • Coker v. Georgia, 433 U.S. 584 (1977) – The death penalty is unconstitutional for rape of an adult woman when the victim is not killed.
  • Enmund v. Florida, 458 U.S. 782 (1982) – The death penalty is unconstitutional for a person who is a minor participant in a felony and does not kill, attempt to kill, or intend to kill.
  • Tison v. Arizona, 481 U.S. 137 (1987) – Death penalty may be imposed on a felony-murder defendant who was a major participant in the underlying felony and exhibits extreme indifference to human life.
  • Sumner v. Shuman, 483 U.S. 66 (1987) – Mandatory death penalty for a prison inmate who is convicted of murder while serving a life sentence without possibility of parole is unconstitutional.
  • Kennedy v. Louisiana, 554 U.S. 407 (2008) – The death penalty is unconstitutional for child rape and other non-homicidal crimes against the person.


Intellectual disability[edit]

Trial procedure (conviction)[edit]

Trial procedure (sentencing)[edit]


Fifth Amendment[edit]

Double jeopardy[edit]

Sixth Amendment[edit]

Trial procedure (sentencing)[edit]


Fourteenth Amendment[edit]

Due Process[edit]

Exculpatory evidence[edit]

Equal Protection[edit]

Habeas corpus[edit]

Summary reversal and vacatur[edit]

International law[edit]


Chronological listing[edit]

See also[edit]