Morgan v. Illinois, 504 U.S. 719, 2 (1992)

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opportunity to identify such persons by questioning them at voir dire about their views on the death penalty. Cf. Lockhart v. McCree, 476 U. S. 162, 170, n. 7. Absent that opportunity, his right not to be tried by those who would always impose death would be rendered as nuga-tory and meaningless as the State's right, in the absence of questioning, to strike those who never do so. Pp. 729-734. (d) The trial court's voir dire was insufficient to satisfy Morgan's right to make inquiry. The State's own request for questioning under Witherspoon and Witt belies its argument that the general fairness and "follow the law" questions asked by the trial court were enough to detect those in the venire who would automatically impose death. Such jurors could in all truth and candor respond affirmatively to both types of questions, personally confident that their dogmatic views are fair and impartial, while leaving the specific concern unprobed. More importantly, the belief that death should be imposed ipso facto upon conviction reflects directly on an individual's inability to follow the law. Pp. 734-736. (e) A juror to whom mitigating evidence is irrelevant is plainly saying that such evidence is not worth consideration, a view which has long been rejected by this Court and which finds no basis in Illinois statutory or decisional law. Here, the instruction accords with the State's death penalty statute, which requires that the jury be instructed to consider any relevant aggravating and mitigating factors, lists certain relevant mitigating factors, and directs the jury to consider whether the mitigating factors are "sufficient to preclude" the death penalty's imposition. Since the statute plainly indicates that a lesser sentence is available in every case where mitigating evidence exists, a juror who would invariably impose the death penalty would not give the mitigating evidence the consideration the statute contemplates. Pp. 736-739.

142 Ill. 2d 410, 568 N. E. 2d 755, reversed and remanded.

White, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Blackmun, Stevens, O'Connor, Kennedy, and Souter, JJ., joined. Scalia, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Rehnquist, C. J., and Thomas, J., joined, post, p. 739.

Allen H. Andrews III argued the cause and filed briefs for petitioner.

Kenneth L. Gillis argued the cause for respondent. With him on the brief were Roland W. Burris, Attorney General of Illinois, Terence M. Madsen, Assistant Attorney General,

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