Essay about 8th Amendment

1153 Words Oct 19th, 1999 5 Pages
The Eighth Amendment The 8th Amendment to the Constitution of the United
States prohibits cruel and unusual punishment, as well as the setting of excessive bail or the imposition of excessive fines. However, it has also been deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United
States (according to the Eighth Amendment)to inflict physical damage on students in a school environment for the purpose of discipline in most circumstances. The 8th Amendment stipulates that bail shall not be excessive. This is unclear as to whether or not there is a constitutional right to bail, or only prohibits excessive bail, if it is to be granted. The Supreme
Court has never directly addressed this interpretation problem, because federal
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(Sundquist
230) The first factor to be considered is the gravity of the offense compared to severity of the penalty. The second is penalties imposed within the same jurisdiction for similar crimes. The third item to be considered is penalties imposed in other jurisdictions for the same offense. (231) As far as capital punishment is concerned, the
Eighth Amendment has been used to declare the death penalty invalid in numerous cases. Mandatory death penalties have repeatedly been found to violate the
Eighth Amendment, and were first found to be unconstitutional in the cases of Roberts vs. Louisiana and Woodson vs. North Carolina. Arbitrary death sentences with no established criteria for application also violate the Eighth Amendment, as was ruled in the case of Furman vs. Georgia. In Furman vs. Georgia three cases had been brought to the Supreme Court concerning the death penalty and the racial biases present in the selection process. Three juries had convicted and imposed the death penalty on their accused without any guidelines to go by in their decision. This case (Furman vs. Georgia) represents the first time the Supreme Court ruled against the death penalty. The dissenting Justices argued that the courts had no right to challenge legislative judgment on the effectiveness and justice of punishments. The majority however held that the death penalty was cruel and unusual

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