Finally, let us consider the view point of Justice Marshall. Justice Marshall is mainly concerned with the constitutional legality of the issue of death penalty for the guilty. According to him, the criminal acts that are the concern of the case in question are “ugly, vicious, reprehensible acts. Their sheer brutality cannot and should not be minimized.” But as mentioned before, he thinks that the duty of the judiciary is only to critically examine the applicability of capital punishment in this case. The humanitarian aspects of compassion toward and condoning of the criminal acts are beyond the scope of the court, he adds. Having stated thus, he makes a historically informed observation on the assimilation of the concept of capital punishment into the legal system. He says, that while the exact origins of death penalty as a legal course of action are difficult to locate, there is plenty of evidence that its roots lay in personal or tribal retribution based on vendetta. Thus, “infliction of death as a penalty for objectionable conduct appears to have its beginnings in private vengeance. Individual vengeance gave way to the vengeance of the state, and capital punishment became a public function. Capital punishment worked its way into the laws of various countries, and was inflicted in a variety of macabre and horrific ways”. These words of Justice Marshall leave no doubt as to what he makes of the infiltration of a primitive mode of social retribution into the confines of the supposedly sophisticated and just judicial system.
Furman v. Georgia (No. 69-5003), No. 69-5003, 225 Ga. 253, 167 S.D.2d 628; No. 69-5030, 225 Ga. 790, 171 S.D.2d 501; No. 69-5031, 447 S.W.2d 932, reversed and remanded, Supreme Court Collection, Cornell University Law School, retrieved from <http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0408_0238_ZS.html> on 21st June, 2008.