People v. Superior Court of Santa Clara County, a 1982 California Supreme Court case, is representative of the enduring struggle in the United States with the appropriateness of execution as punishment. Enthusiasm for imposition of the death penalty was at one of its lowest points in the 1970s, not only in California but across the nation.

In the 1972 case Furman v. Georgia, the U.S. Supreme Court held Georgia's death penalty statute unconstitutional, along with all death penalty statutes in use. It did not ...

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