On This Day, June 29, 1967 – Supreme Court Strikes Down Death Penalty

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1972 – In Furman v. Georgia, the U.S. Supreme Court rules by a vote of 5-4 that capital punishment, as it is currently employed on the state and federal level, is unconstitutional. The majority held that, in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, the death penalty qualified as “cruel and unusual punishment,” primarily because states employed execution in “arbitrary and capricious ways,” especially in regard to race. It was the first time that the nation’s highest court had ruled against capital punishment. However, because the Supreme Court suggested new legislation that could make death sentences constitutional again, such as the development of standardized guidelines for juries that decide sentences, it was not an outright victory for opponents of the death penalty.

In 1976, with 66 percent of Americans still supporting capital punishment, the Supreme Court acknowledged progress made in jury guidelines and reinstated the death penalty under a “model of guided discretion.” In 1977, Gary Gilmore, a career criminal who had murdered an elderly couple because they would not lend him their car, was the first person to be executed since the end of the ban. Defiantly facing a firing squad in Utah, Gilmore’s last words to his executioners before they shot him through the heart were, “Let’s do it.”


1652 – Massachusetts declared itself an independent commonwealth.

1767 – The British Parliament approved the Townshend Revenue Acts. The acts imposed import duties on glass, lead, paint, paper and tea shipped to America.

1776 – The Virginia constitution was adopted and Patrick Henry was made governor.

1804 – Privates John Collins and Hugh Hall of the Lewis and Clark Expedition were found guilty by a court-martial consisting of members of the Corps of Discovery for getting drunk on duty. Collins received 100 lashes on his back and Hall received 50.

1860 – The first iron-pile lighthouse was completed at Minot’s Ledge, MA.

1880 – France annexed Tahiti.

1888 – Professor Frederick Treves performed the first appendectomy in England.

1897 – The Chicago Cubs scored 36 runs in a game against Louisville, setting a record for runs scored by a team in a single game.

1901 – The first edition of “Editor & Publisher” was issued.

1903 – The British government officially protested Belgian atrocities in the Congo.

1932 – Siam’s army seized Bangkok and announced an end to the absolute monarchy.

1941 – Joe DiMaggio got a base hit in his 42nd consecutive game. He broke George Sisler’s record from 1922.

1946 – British authorities arrested more than 2,700 Jews in Palestine in an attempt to end alleged terrorism.

1950 – U.S. President Harry S. Truman authorized a sea blockade of Korea.

1953 – The Federal Highway Act authorized the construction of 42,500 miles of freeway from coast to coast.

1954 – The Atomic Energy Commission voted against reinstating Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer’s access to classified information.

1955 – The Soviet Union sent tanks to Poznan, Poland, to put down anti-Communist demonstrations.

1956 – Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller were married. They were divorced on January 20, 1961.

1966 – The U.S. bombed fuel storage facilities near the North Vietnamese cities of Hanoi and Haiphong.


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1967 – Keith Richards sat before magistrates in Chichester, West Sussex, England, facing charges that stemmed from the infamous raid of Richards’ Redlands estate five months earlier. Though the raid netted very little in the way of actual drugs, what it did net was a great deal of notoriety for the already notorious Rolling Stones. It was during this raid that the police famously encountered a young Marianne Faithfull clad only in a bearskin rug, a fact that the prosecutor in the case seemed to regard as highly relevant to the case at hand. In questioning Richards, Queen’s Counsel Malcolm Morris tried to imply that Faithfull’s nudity was probably the result of a loss of inhibition due to cannabis use.


1967 – Israel removed barricades, re-unifying Jerusalem.

1982 – Israel invaded Lebanon.

1987 – Vincent Van Gogh’s “Le Pont de Trinquetaille” was bought for $20.4 million at an auction in London, England.

1995 – The shuttle Atlantis and the Russian space station Mir docked, forming the largest man-made satellite to orbit the Earth.

2000 – In Santa Rosa, CA, the official groundbreaking ceremony took place for the Charles M. Schulz Museum.

2007 – The first generation Apple iPhone went on sale.

2011 – The state of Nevada passed the first law that permitted the operation of autonomous cars on public roads.

Source: History.com; On-This-Day.com