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Understanding The 8th Amendment

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By Author: Nick Jackson
Total Articles: 14
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Isn’t punishment an age-old way to even the injustice? From banishment by pelting stones to gas chambers to electric chairs. Penalties were not only a part of serving justice but also a form of entertainment. Hence people who associated themselves with judgment and law found creative ways to punish people. The 8th Amendment of the Bill of Rights prohibits the Constitution from imposing excessive bail, Excessive Fine, or cruel and unusual punishments for convicts. Punishing people in unique and brutal ways was put to an end.
Why was the 8th amendment implemented?
In the US Constitution 8th Amendment was introduced in the year 1971. The US Bill of Rights for the 8th Amendment has its roots in the English Bill of Rights of 1689. A Priest named Titus Oates was tried for multiple crimes such as wrongful executions, Banishments, whipping, and even perjury. He was tried for the unjust punishments inflicted on people. This particular case received recognition under the US jurisprudence. All of Oates's penalties were common, yet he got cruelly punished. The US constitution hence adopted the 8th Amendment in the Bill of ...
... Rights in 1791.
Evolving standards of Decency
Throughout hundreds of years, humans and their thinking have evolved. Capital or cruel punishment is not an excellent discourse to provide a just sentence to any person, following the 8th amendment in Trop VS Dulles' case. In this case, Trop served as a Private in the US Army. In 1944 he was deserted and had to surrender. After being found guilty, he got sentenced to hard labor in Morocco. When he decided to return to the US, he was denied entry and stripped of his citizenship. Trop won the US Federal Court trial and was given his passport. This case ruled in his favor, and he came back to the US. Well noted by Chief Justice Earl Warren that "The 8th Amendment must draw its meaning from the evolving standards of Decency that mark the progress of decency maturing society."

Capital punishment, unjust fines, and Bail amounts have to be justified in today's society. There are many instances where the organization seeks just penalties for heinous crimes, especially against women and children, to be punishable by death. But due to the evolving standards of Decency, the court refrains from falling prey to society's demands. It weighs the situation case by case under the 8th amendment.
Revision of Death Sentence Crimes
Death Sentence has isn't abolished by it has been a decision only under very crucial circumstances and the level of the crime that sees no other reasoning. Especially in difficult cases where there are serial rapes, murders, crimes against children, or even murder through terrorist activities where after multiple court hearings and jury decision death sentence can still be given to a convict. When it comes to unusual crime death penalty is not widely accepted across many states in the US—regarded as unconstitutional according to the eight Amendment.

Proportionality of the Sentence
When it comes to excessive bail, fines, or sentence, the 8th Amendment terms it as excessive penalties. If a person has committed a punishable offense and the punishment varies across various states, there is no proportionality to the sentence. Identical crimes must not get treated as more or less severe based on the state in the US. A court will rule out a sentence if there are any chances of disproportionality in its ruling. The court will also conclude that the punishment is not fit for the crime.

For Excessive Fines

Sometimes people are fine excessively or proportionally—for Example, A parking fine for $100,000. A penalty can get imposed in proportion to the crime. The 8th Amendment also states that the Government cannot seize fortified proceedings of the property of criminal defendants

For Excessive Bail

For an accused or defendant, the court sets a bail price for his/her release from the prison. Depending on the seriousness of the crime, the bail amount gets fixed. Each case receives differently, and the judge decides on the bail amount for the defendant. If this amount is too high, the person may stay in prison for a longer duration. Also, if the amount is low, the defendant may quickly get out of jail without understanding the crime's seriousness. Hence the proportionality of the sentence for bail is very important while fixing a bail price for the defendant.

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