Gregg v. Georgia Case Brief

Why is the case important?

A jury imposed the death sentence on Gregg (Defendant), after finding him guilty on charges of armed robbery and murder.

Facts of the case

“A jury found Gregg guilty of armed robbery and murder and sentenced him to death. On appeal, the Georgia Supreme Court affirmed the death sentence except as to its imposition for the robbery conviction. Gregg challenged his remaining death sentence for murder, claiming that his capital sentence was a “”cruel and unusual”” punishment that violated the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments.This case is one of the five “”Death Penalty Cases”” along with Jurek v. Texas , Roberts v. Louisiana , Proffitt v. Florida , and Woodson v. North Carolina .”




“No. Judgment affirmed.
The death penalty itself is per se constitutional on several grounds. First, it does violate contemporary standards of decency insomuch as much of the country seems to have accepted it (35 states have death penalty statues)

  • second, it serves the traditional penological justifications of both retribution and deterrence
  • third, it is not a disproportionate sentence to the crime of murder, but rather an extreme punishment for the most extreme of crimes.”


    “The Court held that the punishment of death did not invariably violate the United States Constitution

  • that the death penalty was not a form of punishment that could never be imposed, regardless of the circumstances of the offense, regardless of the character of the offender, and regardless of the procedure followed in reaching the decision to impose it
  • and that the concerns that the penalty of death not be imposed in an arbitrary or capricious manner were met by a carefully drafted statute that ensured that the sentencing authority was given adequate information and guidance. With regard to the Georgia statute, the Court held that the statutory system under which defendant was sentenced, which focused the jury’s attention on the particularized nature of the crime and the particularized characteristics of the individual defendant and provided a method for review, did not violate the Constitution.”
    • Case Brief: 1976
    • Petitioner: Gregg
    • Respondent: Georgia
    • Decided by: Burger Court

    Citation: 428 US 153 (1976)
    Argued: Mar 31, 1976
    Decided: Jul 2, 1976