Article Title

Death Penalty


Josh D. Moore

Publication Date


Document Type

Survey Article


The Georgia Supreme Court addressed numerous cases touching on the death penalty in our survey period, including the review of four death sentences on direct appeal in Ellington v. State, Rice v. State, Barrett v. State, and Brockman v. State. Three of the death sentences reviewed on direct appeal were affirmed and one was reversed. The court also reversed the decision of a habeas court to vacate a death sentence in Humphrey v. Riley. Several other cases involving the death penalty at various stages of trial were also decided and will be addressed further as warranted. Most of the court's decisions involved the application and refinement of existing precedent, but the court did provide some significant new guidance regarding the proper scope of jury selection in death penalty trials, holding that the questioning of prospective jurors for sentencing bias cannot be limited to the formal allegations within an indictment but rather should be broad enough to reach any "critical fact" of the case.