In Payne v. Tennessee, the United States Supreme Court held that the Eighth Amendment was not a "per se bar" to the admissibility of victim impact evidence in the sentencing phase, of a capital trial. A jury convicted Pervis Tyrone Payne, petitioner, of two counts of first degree murder and one count of first degree assault with intent to murder, and sentenced Payne to death. Payne appealed the death sentence on grounds that allowing a capital sentencing jury to consider victim impact evidence violated the Eighth Amendments and the Supreme Court of Tennessee affirmed. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari and affirmed.
The Supreme Court also held that courts are not constrained to adhere blindly to the doctrine of stare decisis when decisions are unworkable and poorly reasoned. However, this Casenote will address only the issue of victim impact evidence by exploring the majority's analysis and the concurring opinions. In addition, it will criticize the opinion from the perspective of Justice Stevens' dissent.
McLeod, Elizabeth A.
"Payne v. Tennessee: Reexamining the Admissibility of Victim Impact Evidence,"
Mercer Law Review: Vol. 44:
4, Article 27.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.mercer.edu/jour_mlr/vol44/iss4/27