AN OVERVIEW OF CONSTITUTIONAL PRINCIPLES
RELEVANT TO CAPITAL CASES
John H. Blume & Mark E. Olive

This is an introduction to death penalty law. The Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution is the key constitutional provision in capital cases; thus, in the main, we discuss here the Eighth Amendment principles developed by the Supreme Court in the modern era of capital punishment (post-1972). However, because the Due Process Clause, the Sixth Amendment and several other constitutional provisions are also relevant to capital cases, certain aspects of the Court's jurisprudence in these areas will also be discussed.