State of Tennessee v. Urshawn Eric Miller- Concurring in part and Dissenting in part

State of Tennessee v. Urshawn Eric Miller- Concurring in part and Dissenting in part
W2019-00197-SC-DDT-DD

Sharon G. Lee, J., concurring in part and dissenting in part.

The Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects all citizens, including Urshawn Eric Miller, from being subjected to punishment that is cruel and unusual. A sentence is cruel and unusual, and thus constitutionally prohibited, when it is excessive or disproportionate as compared with sentences imposed in similar cases. Miller was sentenced to death for shooting and killing a store clerk during an attempted robbery. The loss of the store clerk’s life is tragic, and Miller deserves to be punished. But Miller and the crime he committed do not fall into the rare category of the “worst of the bad.”When compared with other first-degree murder cases, including capital cases, Miller’s case is more like cases in which a sentence of life or life without parole was imposed rather than a death sentence.Thus, Miller’s death sentence is out of line with the punishment imposed in similar cases, making his punishment cruel and unusual.   

Miller’s convictions for first-degree murder and other offenses should be affirmed. Under the Eighth Amendment, Miller should not be put to death but should spend the rest of his life in prison.

Authoring Judge: 
Justice Sharon G. Lee
Originating Judge: 
Judge Donald H. Allen
Date Filed: 
Tuesday, December 7, 2021