The Supreme Court and the Death Penalty:
The case of Furman vs. Georgia was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in June 1972. In that case, the Court held that capital punishment was unconstitutional and struck down state death penalty laws nationwide. A number of death penalty sentences were commuted to life in prison. In 1976 the Supreme Court overturned its ruling in Furman and upheld the constitutionality of the death penalty in the case of Gregg vs. Georgia. Mississippi passed a statue authorizing discretionary death penalty sentences in 1977 in compliance with Gregg.