Home »

Eighth amendment to the united states constitution

The meaning of «eighth amendment to the united states constitution»

The Eighth Amendment (Amendment VIII) of the United States Constitution prohibits the federal government from imposing excessive bail, excessive fines, or cruel and unusual punishments. This amendment was adopted on December 15, 1791, along with the rest of the United States Bill of Rights.[1] The Amendment serves as a limitation upon the federal government to impose unduly harsh penalties on criminal defendants before and after a conviction. This limitation applies equally to the price for obtaining pretrial release and the punishment for crime after conviction.[2] The phrases in this amendment originated in the English Bill of Rights of 1689.

The prohibition against cruel and unusual punishments has led courts to hold that the Constitution totally prohibits certain kinds of punishment, such as drawing and quartering. Under the Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause, the Supreme Court has struck down the application of capital punishment in some instances, but capital punishment is still permitted in some cases where the defendant is convicted of murder.

The Supreme Court has held that the Excessive Fines Clause prohibits fines that are "so grossly excessive as to amount to a deprivation of property without due process of law". The Court struck down a fine as excessive for the first time in United States v. Bajakajian (1998). Under the Excessive Bail Clause, the Supreme Court has held that the federal government cannot set bail at "a figure higher than is reasonably calculated" to ensure the defendant's appearance at trial.

The Supreme Court has ruled that the Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause applies to the states as well as to the federal government, but the Excessive Bail Clause has not been applied to the states. On February 20, 2019, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in Timbs v. Indiana that the Excessive Fines Clause also applies to the states.

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.[3]

The Eighth Amendment was adopted, as part of the Bill of Rights, in 1791. It is almost identical to a provision in the English Bill of Rights of 1689, in which Parliament declared, "as their ancestors in like cases have usually done ... that excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted."[4]

The provision was largely inspired by the case in England of Titus Oates who, after the ascension of King James II in 1685, was tried for multiple acts of perjury that had led to executions of many people Oates had wrongly accused. Oates was sentenced to imprisonment, including an annual ordeal of being taken out for two days pillory plus one day of whipping while tied to a moving cart. The Oates case eventually became a topic of the U.S. Supreme Court's Eighth Amendment jurisprudence.[5] The punishment of Oates involved ordinary penalties collectively imposed in a barbaric, excessive and bizarre manner.[6] The reason why the judges in Oates' perjury case were not allowed to impose the death penalty (unlike in the cases of those whom Oates had falsely accused) may be because such a punishment would have deterred even honest witnesses from testifying in later cases.[7]

© 2015-2021, Wikiwordbook.info
Copying information without reference to the source is prohibited!
contact us mobile version