Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Death Penalty death penalty: The Supreme Court has ruled that the death penalty is not a per se violation of the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment, but the Eighth Amendment does shape certain procedural aspects regarding when a jury may use the death penalty and how it must be carried out.
Because of the Fourteenth Amendment 's Due Process Clausethe Eighth Amendment applies against the states, as well as the federal government. Eighth Amendment analysis requires that courts consider the evolving standards of decency to determine if a particular punishment constitutes a cruel or unusual punishment.
When considering evolving standards of decency, courts both look for objective factors to show a change in community standards and also make independent evaluations about whether the statute in question is reasonable. Proportionality Requirement The U. Supreme Court has determined that a penalty must be proportional to the crime; otherwise, the punishment violates the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishments.
In performing its proportionality analysis, the Supreme Court looks to the following three factors: GeorgiaU. The Court reasoned that the laws resulted in a disproportionate application of the death penalty, specifically discriminating against the poor and minorities.
The Court also reasoned that the existing laws terminated life in exchange for marginal contributions to society. The Court held the death penalty was not per se unconstitutional as it could serve the social purposes of retribution and deterrence.
The death penalty, however, remains limited to capital offenses. In the landmark case of Coker v. The Court came to this conclusion by considering objective indicia of the nation's attitude toward the death penalty in rape cases.
At the time only a few states allowed for executions of convicted rapists. Twenty-one years later, in Kennedy v.
LouisianaU. Because only six states in the country permitted execution as a penalty for child rape, the Supreme Court found the national consensus to hold its use in these cases as disproportionate.
Principle of Individualized Sentencing To impose a death sentence, the jury must be guided by the particular circumstances of the criminal, and the court must have conducted an individualized sentencing process.
Arizon aU. The Supreme Court further refined the requirement of "a finding of aggravating factors" in Brown v. For cases in which an appellate court rules a sentencing factor invalid, the Court ruled that the sentence imposed becomes unconstitutional unless the jury found some other aggravating factor that encompasses the same facts and circumstances as the invalid factor.
MarshU. Method of Execution A legislature may prescribe the manner of execution, but the manner may not inflict unnecessary or wanton pain upon the criminal. Courts apply an "objectively intolerable" test when determining if the method of execution violates the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishments.
State courts and lower federal courts have refused to strike down hanging and electrocution as impermissible methods of execution; however, the U. Supreme Court did not take up a method of execution case for years until Baze v. This case resolved a controversial issue in light of recent evidence that a lethal injection's three-drug combination fails to alleviate pain and prevents the criminal from signaling such pain because of paralysis inducement.
VirginiaU. However, in Bobby v. BiesU. SimmonsU. The majority opinion pointed to teenagers' lack of maturity and responsibility, greater vulnerability to negative influences, and incomplete character development.
The Court concluded that juvenile offenders assume diminished culpability for their crimes.Oklahoma, U.S. (), the Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty constituted cruel and unusual punishment if the defendant is under age 16 when the .
Death Row was found to be cruel and unusual in the Caribbean, leading to the abolition of the death penalty. Regardless of the method of execution, knowledge and anticipation of execution, combined with uncertainty is hard to support as not cruel.
Apr 06, · Of Course the Death Penalty Is Cruel and Unusual Kirk Noble Bloodsworth is the director of advocacy for Witness to Innocence. He was the first . The Supreme Court has ruled that the death penalty is not a per se violation of the Eighth Amendment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment, but the Eighth Amendment does shape certain procedural aspects regarding when a jury may use the death penalty and how it must be carried out.
And now, with the recent botched executions, people are starting to question, once again, if the death penalty violates the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. Who’s For It? Currently the death penalty is legal in the federal government, the military, and 32 states.
The 6 to 3 ruling that the death penalty for Atkins was “cruel and unusual punishment,” was written by Justice John Paul Stevens, who was joined by Justices Breyer, Ginsburg, Kennedy, O'Connor, and .