The Case Of Booth Vs. The State Of Maryland

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In the case of Booth versus the state of Maryland, John Booth was convicted of murdering an elderly couple. In 1983 Booth and an accomplice brutally murdered an elderly couple, Ira and Rose Bronstein, in their home. Booth was subsequently apprehended, charged, and convicted by a jury of two counts of first degree murder. The State requested the death penalty. He chose to have the jury determine his sentence instead of the judge. According to the Maryland's law, it requires a victim impact statement describing the effect of the crime on the victim and his family to be included in the pre-sentence report in capital cases. In this case, the victim impact statement described the victims, the impact of the crime on their family, and the family members' …show more content…

He also acknowledged that by allowing the content of a victim impact statement to influence the jury could lead them to choose the death penalty for reasons which were irrelevant to the defendant's decision to kill. This diverted attention from the facts of the crime. Justice Powell determined that by introducing the emotionally-charged opinions of family members into the case would destroy the reasoned decision-making. This is critical in capital cases. The major factor, in this case, argued if the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution protected a defendant from cruel and unusual punishment. This amendment prohibited a jury from considering a victim impact statement during the sentencing phase of a capital murder trial. The Supreme Court questioned whether the consideration of victim impact evidence in a capital sentencing case was legal. Booth contended that by considering this type of documentation would lead to arbitrary or capricious sentencing. The Supreme Court of the United States ruled that it was unconstitutional to utilize victim impact statements in a capital sentencing

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