ABC Evening News for Thursday, Jun 29, 1972
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(Studio) Supreme Court rules death penalty unconstitutional; spares lives of 600 men in death row cells across nation
REPORTER: Howard K. Smith
(Supreme Court) Vote is 5 to 4 against death penalty. Justices Brenman and and Marshall say it is cruel and unusual punishment, and would prohibit it entirely. Douglas says it has been imposed disproportionately on minority groups. Stewart says it has been applied in wanton and freakish manner. White says death penalty fails to meet need for retribution. If states adopt better standards for death penalty, it might be proper for certain crimes; at present it is illegal in US. 4 Nixon appointees, Burger, Blackman, Rehnquist, and Powell, vote to uphold death penalty.
REPORTER: Herbert Kaplow
(Studio) 39 states and Washington, DC still endorsed death penalty when courts ruled. Supreme Court rules on 3 test cases: 2 rape and 1 murder.
REPORTER: Howard K. Smith
(Milledgeville, Georgia) Convicted of burglary murder in Savannah, Georgia, 29 year old William Furman sentenced to die 5 years ago. He has undergone treatment for tuberculosis. [FURMAN - describes relief on learning about abolition of death penalty in Supreme Court decision on his case.] REPORTER: David Snell
(Angola, LA) 46 men on Louisiana State Prison death row, all charged with murder or rape. [Wilbur FREZALL - says death row inmates didn't believe it when they heard radio broadcast announcing abolition of death penalty. Describes living under constant fear of execution.] [Bobby MCALLISTER - surprised and happy at news.] [Parnell SMITH - has lived under threat of death so long he can't be overly happy about decision.] [George SQUARE - says prospect of life in prison beats death penalty.]
REPORTER: Bob Krieger
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