Greg v Georgia is a U.S. Supreme Court case in which it was held that death penalty for murder was not in and of itself a cruel and unusual punishment prohibited by the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. It was held that the Eighth Amendment has to be interpreted in a dynamic and flexible manner to conform with evolving standards of decency. The Court also ruled that the character of the defendant was to be considered when deciding whether to impose the death penalty to ensure that such a punishment is not disproportionate.
The Supreme Court, while determining the proportionality of the death penalty, opined that it was justified because it was proven beyond reasonable doubt:
- that the murder was committed while the offender was engaged in the commission of other capital felonies, viz., the armed robberies of the victims;
- that he committed the murder for the purpose of receiving the victims' money and automobile; and
- that the murder was “outrageously and wantonly vile, horrible and inhuman” in that it “involved the depravity of (the) mind of the defendant.”
[Last updated in December of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]