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Supreme Court / Rape and Death Penalty #494287

NBC Evening News for Wednesday, Jun 29, 1977
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(Studio) Supreme Court rules death penalty may not be imposed for rape conviction. Case originated in Georgia.
REPORTER: John Chancellor

(DC) Background of Georgia man, Ehrlich A. Coker noted. Georgia and Florida have men on death row for rape; only few other states have death penalty for rape. Court's decision written by Justice Byron White; dissenters are Justices Burger and Rehnquist. Former justice Arthur Goldberg fought for similar ruling while on court [GOLDBERG - says court must decide issue on basis of vindication of constitutional principle. Notes that decision not totally popular with public.] Decision doesn't rule on death penalty for nonhomicidal crimes.
REPORTER: Carl Stern Unsigned sketches

(Studio) Reactions to decision are mixed. Some women's groups say more rapists would be punished if penalties not so severe. Thought echoed by Coker's attorney after decision. (Film shown.) [Attorney David KENDALL - notes women's rights groups filed brief in support of defense in recognition that excessiveness of penalty keeps rapists from punishment.]
REPORTER: John Chancellor

Chancellor, John;
Stern Carl

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