Term Year 2016

Sireci v. Florida

The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied. JUSTICE BREYER, dissenting from denial of certiorari. Henry Sireci, the petitioner, was tried, convicted of murder, and first sentenced to death in 1976. He has lived in prison under threat of execution for 40 years. When he was first sentenced to death, the Berlin Wall stood firmly in place. Saigon had just fallen. Few Americans knew of the personal computer or the Internet. And over half of all Americans now alive had not yet been born.

See Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of Census, Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Selected Age Groups by Sex: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015 (June 2016), online at http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/ productview.xhtml?pid=PEP_2015_PEPAGESEX&prodType= table (all Internet materials as last visited Dec. 9, 2016). Forty years is more time than an average person could expect to live his entire life when America constitutionally forbade the “inflict[ion]” of “cruel and unusual punishments.” Amdt. 8; see 5 Dictionary of American History 104 (S. Kutler ed., 3d ed. 2003). This Court, speaking of a period of four weeks, not 40 years, once said that a prisoner’s uncertainty before execution is “one of the most horrible feelings to which he can be subjected.”