Morgan v. Illinois, 504 U.S. 719, 5 (1992)

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Cite as: 504 U. S. 719 (1992)

Opinion of the Court

pressed substantial doubts about their ability to follow Illinois law in deciding whether to impose a sentence of death. Id., at 9-22, 79-83, 90-94. All of the jurors eventually empaneled were also questioned individually under Witherspoon, each receiving and responding in the negative to this question or a slight variation: "Would you automatically vote against the death penalty no matter what the facts of the case were?" App. 33; see id., at 36, 41, 48, 55, 59, 64, 69, 76, 88, 97, 103.

After seven members of the first venire had been questioned, including three who eventually became jurors, petitioner's counsel requested the trial court to ask all prospective jurors the following question: "If you found Derrick Morgan guilty, would you automatically vote to impose the death penalty no matter what the facts are?" Id., at 44. The trial court refused this request, stating that it had "asked the question in a different vein substantially in that nature." Ibid.

Prior to the voir dire of the three venires, the trial court had explained in general terms the dictates of Illinois procedure in capital trials, as outlined above. See id., at 24, 77- 78, 90. During voir dire, the trial court received from 9 of the 12 jurors empaneled an affirmative response to variations of this question: "Would you follow my instructions on the law even though you may not agree?" Id., at 30; see id., at 38, 43, 49, 56, 60, 64, 69, 107. However, the trial court did not ask three of the jurors this question in any way. See id., at 73-77, 83-89, 94-100. Every juror eventually empaneled was asked generally whether each could be fair and impartial.2 Each juror responded appropriately to at least one

2 Such questioning led to the removal for cause of one prospective juror, following this exchange:

"Q Would you follow my instructions on the law in the case even though you might not agree?

"A Yes.

[Footnote 2 is continued on p. 724]


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