Hitchcock v. Dugger,
481 U.S. 393 (1987)

Annotate this Case
  • Syllabus  | 
  • Case

U.S. Supreme Court

Hitchcock v. Dugger, 481 U.S. 393 (1987)

Hitchcock v. Dugger

No. 85-6756

Argued October 15, 1986

Decided April 22, 1987

481 U.S. 393


Petitioner was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death in a separate postconviction proceeding. In that proceeding, the trial judge instructed the advisory jury not to consider, and himself refused to consider, evidence of mitigating circumstances not specifically enumerated in the Florida death penalty statute. Following unsuccessful appeals and state and federal collateral proceedings, petitioner filed an application for a writ of habeas corpus in Federal District Court, claiming that the advisory jury and the sentencing judge had been precluded by law from considering evidence of nonstatutory mitigating circumstances. The District Court denied the application, and the Court of Appeals affirmed.

Held: Petitioner was sentenced to death in proceedings that did not comport with the requirement that the sentencer may neither refuse to consider nor be precluded from considering any relevant mitigating evidence. Skipper v. South Carolina, 476 U. S. 1; Eddings v. Oklahoma, 455 U. S. 104; Lockett v. Ohio, 438 U. S. 586. Under the circumstances of this case, petitioner's death sentence cannot stand. Pp. 481 U. S. 395-399.

770 F.2d 1514, reversed and remanded.

SCALIA, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court.

Page 481 U. S. 394

Primary Holding

A Florida death penalty statute was interpreted to prohibit the sentencing jury and judge from considering mitigating circumstances not specifically enumerated in the statute. In capital cases, the sentencer may not refuse to consider or be precluded from considering any relevant mitigating evidence.

Disclaimer: Justia Annotations is a forum for attorneys to summarize, comment on, and analyze case law published on our site. Justia makes no guarantees or warranties that the annotations are accurate or reflect the current state of law, and no annotation is intended to be, nor should it be construed as, legal advice. Contacting Justia or any attorney through this site, via web form, email, or otherwise, does not create an attorney-client relationship.

Disclaimer: Official Supreme Court case law is only found in the print version of the United States Reports. Justia case law is provided for general informational purposes only, and may not reflect current legal developments, verdicts or settlements. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site or information linked to from this site. Please check official sources.