In the 1972 case of Furman v. Georgia, the United States Supreme Court invalidated virtually all existing death penalty statutes in the United States. Consequently, those jurisdictions that wanted to continue to execute were forced to revise their capital sentencing procedures. Since Furman,nearly all aspects of American death penalty law have been rewritten. Left unchanged by both the courts and the legislatures, however, are the ways in which states decide which death-sentenced inmates will have their sentences commuted through the powers of executive clemency.
Michael L. Radelet & Barbara A. Zsembik,
Executive Clemency in Post-Furman Capital Cases,
U. Rich. L. Rev.
Available at: http://scholarship.richmond.edu/lawreview/vol27/iss2/8