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Eighth Amendment

court punishments punishment cruel

The Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads:

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

The Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ratified in 1791, has three provisions. The CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENTS CLAUSE restricts the severity of punishments that state and federal governments may impose upon persons who have been convicted of a criminal offense. The Excessive Fines Clause limits the amount that state and federal governments may fine a person for a particular crime. The Excessive Bail Clause restricts judicial discretion in setting bail for the release of persons accused of a criminal activity during the period following their arrest but preceding their trial.

Courts are given wide latitude under the Excessive Fines Clause of the Eighth Amendment. Fines imposed by a trial court judge or magistrate will not be overturned on appeal unless the judge or magistrate abused his or her discretion in assessing them (United States v. Hyppolite, 65 F.3d 1151 [4th Cir. 1995]). Under the "abuse-of-discretion" standard, appellate courts may overturn a fine that is ARBITRARY, capricious, or "so grossly excessive as to amount to a deprivation of property without due process of law" (Water-Pierce Oil Co. v. Texas, 212 U.S. 86, 111, 29 S. Ct. 220, 227, 53 L. Ed. 417 [1909]). Fines are rarely overturned on appeal for any of these reasons.

Trial court judges are given less latitude under the Excessive Bail Clause. Bail is the amount of money, property, or bond that a defendant must pledge to the court as security for his or her appearance at trial. If the defendant meets bail or is able to pay the amount set by the court, the defendant is entitled to recover the pledged amount at the conclusion of the criminal proceedings. However, if the defendant fails to appear as scheduled during the prosecution, then he or she forfeits the amount pledged and still faces further criminal penalties if convicted of the offense or offenses charged.

When fixing the amount of bail for a particular defendant, the court takes into consideration several factors: (1) the seriousness of the offense; (2) the WEIGHT OF EVIDENCE against the accused; (3) the nature and extent of any ties, such as family or employment, that the accused has to the community where he or she will be prosecuted; (4) the accused's ability to pay a given amount; and (5) the likelihood that the accused will flee the jurisdiction if released.

In applying these factors, courts usually attempt to set bail for a reasonable amount. Setting bail for an unreasonable amount would unnecessarily restrict the freedom of a person who only has been accused of wrongdoing; who is presumed innocent until proven otherwise; and who is entitled to pursue a living and to support a family. At the same time, courts are aware that bail needs to be set sufficiently high to ensure that the defendant will return for trial. Defendants are less likely to flee the jurisdiction when they would forfeit large amounts of money as a result. Courts are also aware that they must protect communities from the harm presented by particularly dangerous defendants. In this regard, the U.S. Supreme Court has permitted lower courts to deny bail for defendants who would create abnormally dangerous risks to the community if released.

Appellate courts usually defer to lower courts' decisions when a criminal penalty is challenged under the Excessive Fines and Excessive Bail Clauses of the Eighth Amendment. They give much closer scrutiny to criminal penalties that are challenged under the Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause. State and federal governments are prohibited from inflicting cruel and unusual punishments on a defendant, no matter how heinous the crime committed. The prohibition against CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT by states derives from the doctrine of incorporation, through which selective liberties contained in the BILL OF RIGHTS have been applied to the states by the U.S. Supreme Court's interpretation of the DUE PROCESS and EQUAL PROTECTION Clauses of the FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT.

The Eighth Amendment requires that every punishment imposed by the government be commensurate with the offense committed by the defendant. Punishments that are disproportionately harsh will be overturned on appeal. Examples of punishments that have been overturned for being unreasonable are two Georgia statutes that prescribed the death penalty for rape and KIDNAPPING (Coker v. Georgia, 433 U.S. 584, 97 S. Ct. 2861, 53 L. Ed. 2d 982 [1977]; Eberheart v. Georgia, 433 U.S. 917, 97 S. Ct. 2994, 53 L. Ed. 2d 1104 [1977]).

The U.S. Supreme Court has also ruled that criminal sentences that are inhuman, outrageous, or shocking to the social conscience are cruel and unusual. Although the Court has never provided meaningful definitions for these characteristics, the pertinent cases speak for themselves. For example, the Georgia Supreme Court explained that the Eighth Amendment was intended to prohibit barbarous punishments such as castration, burning at the stake, and quartering (Whitten v. Georgia, 47 Ga. 297 [1872]). Similarly, the U.S. Supreme Court wrote that the Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause prohibits crucifixion, breaking on the wheel, and other punishments that involve a lingering death (In re Kemmler, 136 U.S. 436, 10 S. Ct. 930, 34 L. Ed. 519 [1890]). The Court also invalidated an Oklahoma law (57 O.S. 1941 §§ 173, 174, 176–181, 195) that compelled the state government to sterilize "feeble-minded" or "habitual" criminals in an effort to prevent them from reproducing and passing on their deficient characteristics (Skinner v. Oklahoma, 316 U.S. 535, 62 S. Ct. 1110, 86 L. Ed. 1655 [1942]). Significantly, however, the Court had let stand, fifteen years earlier, a Virginia law (1924 Va. Acts C. 394) that authorized the sterilization of mentally retarded individuals who were institutionalized at state facilities for the "feeble-minded" (BUCK V. BELL, 274 U.S. 200, 47 S. Ct. 584, 71 L. Ed. 1000 [1927]).

A constitutional standard that allows judges to strike down legislation that they find shocking, but to let stand other legislation they find less disturbing, has an inherently subjective and malleable quality. A punishment that seems outrageous to one judge on one particular day might seem sensible to a different judge on the same day or to the same judge on a different day. For example, in Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 112 S. Ct. 995, 117 L. Ed. 2d 156 (1992), the U.S. Supreme Court reviewed a case in which a prisoner had been handcuffed by two Louisiana corrections officers and beaten to the point where his teeth were loosened and his dental plate was cracked. Seven U.S. Supreme Court justices ruled that the prisoner had suffered cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment. Two justices, ANTONIN SCALIA and CLARENCE THOMAS, disagreed.

Another amorphous measure by which the constitutionality of criminal sentences is reviewed allows the high court to invalidate punishments that are contrary to "the evolving standards of decency that mark a maturing society" (Trop v. Dulles, 356 U.S. 86, 78 S. Ct. 590, 2 L. Ed. 2d 630 [1958]). Under the Trop test, the Court must determine whether a particular punishment is offensive to society at large, not merely shocking or outrageous to a particular justice. In determining which criminal sentences are offensive to society, the Court will survey state legislation to calculate whether they are authorized by a majority of jurisdictions. If most states authorize a particular punishment, the Court will not invalidate that punishment, as it is not contrary to "evolving standards of decency."

Applying this test, the Court ruled that the death penalty may be imposed upon 16-year-old U.S. citizens who have been convicted of murder, because a national consensus, as reflected by state legislation, supported CAPITAL PUNISHMENT for juveniles of that age (Stanford v. Kentucky, 492 U.S. 361, 109 S. Ct. 2969, 106 L. Ed. 2d 306 [1989]). Under the same reasoning, the Court permitted the state of Texas to execute a mentally retarded person who had been convicted of murder, despite claims that the defendant's handicap minimized his moral culpability (Penry v. Lynaugh, 492 U.S. 302, 109 S. Ct. 2934, 106 L. Ed. 2d 256 [1989]).

In the years after the Court decided Penry, several states, including Texas, exempted mentally retarded individuals from their death-penalty statutes. Moreover, very few states that did not proscribe such executions actually executed mentally retarded defendants, meaning those individuals with IQs of lower than 70. In 2002, the Court reviewed its conclusion in Penry in ATKINS V. VIRGINIA, 536 U.S. 304, 122 S. Ct. 2242, 153 L. Ed. 2d 335 (2002). Because so few states allowed execution of the mentally retarded, the practice had indeed become "unusual." Moreover, justifications for the death penalty, such as retribution on the part of the defendant and deterrence of capital crimes by prospective offenders, did not apply to the mentally retarded. Accordingly, the Court categorically excluded the mentally retarded from execution under the Eighth Amendment.

Atkins demonstrated that the Eighth Amendment, like other constitutional provisions, evolves as society evolves. Nevertheless, Justice Antonin Scalia, in a scathing dissent in Atkins, attacked the majority opinion as lacking in precedent. He noted, "Seldom has an opinion of this Court rested so obviously upon nothing but the personal views of its members." According to Scalia, the abolition of executions of mildly mentally retarded individuals by 18 states did not amount to a "national consensus" that such executions were so "morally repugnant as to violate our national 'standards of decency.'" Moreover, Scalia noted that execution of mildly retarded individuals in 1791, when the Eighth Amendment was adopted, would not have been considered "cruel and unusual." Rather, only the severely and profoundly retarded were historically protected.

Another test that the Court employs to evaluate the constitutionality of particular punishments is somewhat less pliable, but still controversial. Popularly known as the originalist approach, this test permits the U.S. Supreme Court to invalidate punishments that the Framers "originally" intended to remove from legislative fiat. In attempting to ascertain which punishments the Framers disapproved of, the Court has developed a simplistic formula: If a particular punishment was prohibited by the states at the time they ratified the Eighth Amendment in 1791, then that particular punishment is necessarily cruel and unusual; if a particular punishment was permitted by most states, or at least some states, in 1791, then the Framers did not intend to remove that punishment from the legislative arena.

The narrow, originalist formula has been criticized on a number of grounds. Some critics argue that a state representative's vote to ratify the Eighth Amendment need not mean that representative believed that all the punishments authorized by the government comported with the Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause. The representative might not have considered whether a particular punishment was in any way cruel or unusual as he cast his vote for ratification. Conversely, the representative might have cast his vote for ratification primarily because he believed that a certain punishment would be deemed cruel and unusual under the Eighth Amendment. No documentary evidence from the state ratification proceedings reflects which punishments particular representatives found permissible or impermissible under the Eighth Amendment.

Nor is there much evidence indicating that the Framers intended their understanding of the Constitution to be binding on subsequent generations. JAMES MADISON, who was the primary architect of the Bill of Rights, believed that the thoughts and intentions of the Framers should have no influence on courts when they interpret the provisions of the Constitution. "As a guide in expounding and applying the provisions of the Constitutions," Madison wrote, "the debates and incidental decisions of the [Constitutional] Convention can have no authoritative character." For this reason, Madison refused to publish his Notes of the Debates in the Federal Convention during his lifetime.

Another criticism of the narrow, originalist approach emanates from the language of the Eighth Amendment itself. Proponents of this viewpoint observe that the Eighth Amendment is written in very abstract language. It prohibits "excessive" bail and "excessive" fines, and does not set forth any specific amount that judges may use as a yardstick when setting bail or imposing fines. Although it prohibits cruel and unusual punishments, it does not enumerate which criminal penalties should be abolished.

The Framers could have drafted the Eighth Amendment to explicitly outlaw certain barbaric punishments. They obviously were familiar with ways to draft constitutional provisions with such specificity. For example, Article I, Section 9, of the Constitution provides that "[n]o Bill of Attainder or EX POST FACTO LAW shall be passed." No clearer or more precise language could have been used in this provision. The Framers could have employed similar concrete language for the Eighth Amendment, some critics reason, but did not choose to do so.

Although there is not enough evidence to determine conclusively the appropriate manner in which the Framers expected or hoped that the Constitution would be interpreted, the origins of the Eighth Amendment are fairly clear. The notion that the severity of a punishment should bear some relationship to the severity of the criminal offense is one of the oldest in Anglo-Saxon law. In 1215, the MAGNA CHARTA, the ancient charter of English liberties, provided, "A free man shall not be [fined] for a small offense unless according to the measure of the offense, and for a great offense he shall be [fined] according to the greatness of the offense" (ch. 20).

By the seventeenth century, England had extended this principle to punishments that called for incarceration. In one case, the King's Court ruled that "imprisonment ought always to be according to the quality of the offence" (Hodges v. Humkin, 2 Bulst. 139, 80 Eng. Rep. 1015 [K.B. 1615] [Croke, J.]). In 1689, the principle of proportionality was incorporated into the English Bill of Rights, which used language that the Framers of the U.S. Constitution later borrowed for the Eighth Amendment: "[E]xcessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines imposed, or cruel and unusual punishments inflicted." Nine states adopted similar provisions for their own constitutions after the American Revolution.

The concerns underlying the Eighth Amendment were voiced in two state-ratification conventions. In Massachusetts, one representative expressed "horror" that Congress could "determine what kind of punishments shall be inflicted on persons convicted of crimes" and that nothing restrained Congress "from inventing the most cruel and unheard-of punishments" that would make "racks" and "gibbets" look comparatively "mild" (as quoted in FURMAN V. GEORGIA, 408 U.S. 238, 92 S. Ct. 2726, 33 L. Ed. 2d 346 [1972]). In Virginia, PATRICK HENRY was worried that Congress might legalize torture as a method of coercing confessions from criminal defendants, and that the government should be prevented from employing such "cruel and barbarous" tactics (as quoted in Furman).

The concerns expressed by these representatives were legitimate in light of the punishments authorized by many states at the time the Eighth Amendment was ratified. These punishments ranged from whipping, branding, and the pillory to various methods of mutilation, including the slitting of nostrils and the removal of body parts. The death penalty was also prevalent. If James Madison or the other Framers intended to preserve these forms of punishment, they kept their intentions to themselves.

The U.S. Supreme Court continues to consider specific instances of punishment in order to determine whether they violate the Eighth Amendment. In Hope v. Pelzer, 536 U.S. 730, 122 S. Ct. 2508, 153 L. Ed. 2d 666 (2002), the Court considered a case where Alabama prison officers had handcuffed a prisoner to a hitching post on two occasions, once for more than seven hours without water or a restroom break. Use of a hitching post, according to the Court, violated the Eighth Amendment.

The prisoner in Hope brought a civil action against the officers, who claimed that they were protected by the doctrine of qualified IMMUNITY, which applies when state actors are not put on notice that their conduct violates judicial precedent or other federal or state law. Precedent from the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes the state of Alabama, was clear that this type of punishment was unlawful. Moreover, the DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE had submitted a report to the Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC), informing the state agency that the use of hitching posts violated the constitution, and the ADOC had issued regulations forbidding that form of punishment. Because the officers had had notice that their actions were unlawful, qualified immunity did not apply.

Other punishments that have been the subject of Eighth Amendment challenges are the socalled "three strikes and you're out" laws, which increase punishment for repeat offenders. Under such laws, when an offender commits his or her third crime, the severity of the crime is elevated. Several defendants, particularly in California, have been sentenced to lengthy prison terms after committing relatively minor offenses.

In Lockyer v. Andrade, 538 U.S. 63, 123 S. Ct. 1166, 155 L. Ed. 2d 144 (2003), the U.S. Supreme Court held that the THREE-STRIKES LAWS did not violate the Eighth Amendment. In that case, the defendant had stolen a total of nine video tapes worth a total of $153, usually a misdemeanor offense under California law. However, the defendant had received two previous convictions, and when he was convicted on two counts of petty theft, the counts were considered his "strikes" three and four. The trial court elevated the charges to felonies and sentenced the defendant to life in prison with no possibility of PAROLE for 50 years. The Court allowed the sentence to stand, reversing a decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

On the same day it decided Lockyer, the Court ruled that a sentence of 25 years to life given to a defendant who had stolen three golf clubs worth $399 apiece was not cruel and unusual punishment. The case of Ewing v. California, 538 U.S. 11, 123 S. Ct. 1179, 155 L. Ed. 2d 108 (2003), unlike Lockyer, was an appeal from a California state court that had found nothing unconstitutional about the three-strikes law in California. The two rulings made it clear that states may prescribe elevated punishment for repeat offenders without violating the Eighth Amendment, even if the punishment does not meet the actual crime that led to the punishment.

FURTHER READINGS

Bork, Robert. 1990. The Tempting of America: The Political Seduction of the Law. Free Press.

Dworkin, Ronald. 1977. Taking Rights Seriously. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press.

Lewis, Thomas T., ed. 2002. The Bill of Rights. Pasadena, Calif.: Salem Press.

Monk, Linda R. 2000. The Bill of Rights: A User's Guide. 3d ed. Alexandria, Va.: Close Up.

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over 2 years ago

Yes i get this, either to not be what we try to destroy, and others saying we need the murders gone so the innocent can be safe. The two sides have both benefits and disadvantages; but i think it really depends on the murderer,sure they killed someone, but there has to be a person that understands the murderer. You don't know what could really be going in their mind, they could of been confused or drunk for that matter, or they just made a bad mistake. I honestly think this should go on, yet another part of me says not to. That murderer could of just hated the other for murdering someone They loved, for example, someone killed Miley Cyrus, they say they did it because she killed his love for music... Okay bad example. But my point is, it depends, on the murderer and even sometimes, the killed victim.

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over 5 years ago

I believe everyone has the right to live and that the only person who can take ur life away is god and only him!

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almost 5 years ago

This is the exact reason why the 8th Amendment is debated to this day. However, the Amendment was created to prevent torture and unjust ways of punishment. Imagine if executioners were permitted to execute buning at the stake, cutting off body parts, and drowning, even if the crime was as minor as an unarmed robbery. Sometimes jail for life can be enough punishment, because some people would go crazy if they were caged with nothing to do. I agree with this amendment; it has found a way to punish criminals that can be both vigorous but not too extreme.

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almost 7 years ago

Ok i believe that the Death Penalty isnt such a good idea, it takes a human life...and it simply isnt the best way to deal with a criminal! Why shall we use the death penalty on a person whose commited a crime...We become the killers as well...Why become what we try to distroy!

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almost 4 years ago

this is boring dude.

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almost 4 years ago

this is boring dude.

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over 1 year ago

I don't think there should be a death penalty. If somebody kills someone else, and the "Law" kills them, the "Law" is basically stooping to their level; we're the same as the people we're trying to eradicate!

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almost 6 years ago

Some of you say that lethal injection is a painless procedure. If you actually do some research it takes the longest amount of time out of any of the other methods used in the past. Im not saying we should resort to hanging people again but that can kill a person instantly. The entire process of lethal injection can take 30-45 min! and there are actually three injections used. If a person has weak veins, say from drug use or insulin injections for diabeties, then the chemical injection can be blocked and they can sit there in agonizing pain for multiple minutes while they wait to die. This is not always painless and quick. Many suffer through this. Don't you think this is a form of cruel and unusual punishment?

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over 5 years ago

The Death Penalty is a /necessary/ part of our American existence. /Murderers/ are the ones that are put to death, and it doesn't matter who they kill - whether it be your grandma or some random stranger you've never set eyes on, and never would have had they lived. A human life is a human life, and an /innocent/ human life should be protected at ALL COSTS. And once one human has taken the life of another ((that wasn't accepted by law)) they /deserve/ to be put to death BY LAW.

And then getting into religion... God gave us free will. He gave us the power to make our own decisions and, as a nation, we've decided to allow the Death Penalty to punish murderers (mainly MASS murderers). Aside from /that/, if He really had other plans for a person on Death Row, then, well, have you guys ever heard of Divine Intervention? Miracles. If He honestly thought that the person didn't deserve it or had a specific plan for that person, then he would /obviously/ intervene and /not allow us/ to take that person's life. Through ANY means.

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almost 6 years ago

I believe that the Death Penalty is Cruel, but i think it should still go on. Because if your grandma got shot and you found the person who shot and KILLED your grandma... Im sure you would want to kill them, you can either take it to court or you can take care of it yourself. But if you kill that person and the "Law" finds out about it you are more than likely to get Sentenced to Death. And then without the bail part of the amendment, since you killed a person the Judge more than likely won't let you get your bail that you want because you wouldn't want a "killer" on the loose, when really it all started with your grandma...



Thank you for your time reading this.

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almost 7 years ago

the death penalty helps to eliminate the high population of prisoners that are using tax payers money to supply the sadistic murders to live under its roof and eat its food!!!!

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about 4 years ago

an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.

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about 4 years ago




EYE FOR AN EYE


If you steal, you are to be stolen from, If you are to kill, you are to be killed, if you are to injure you are to be injured, if you are to start a fire, we will burn something of yours, If you are to torture, you are to be tortured.


End of story...

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over 6 years ago

No one has the right to take some's life away but GOD!

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over 5 years ago

Well for all of you who are saying keeping prisoners cost a lot think again believe it or not capital punishment cost us millions of tax dollars even more money then keeping prisoners and feeding them!!!!!

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almost 6 years ago

Ok. Lots of good points. I believe it goes either way. Yeah kara I understand wanting justice, and yeah Tineeka I understand, that its God not us. Prison really isnt all that great. Completely structured enviornment, TV when your allowed if your allowed. Eating but, is it really that great. An hour or two outside. Life in a room the size of my bathroom, no privacy and no indiviuality. And when this becomes too much, you do something to get more, and are thrown in 23 hour lock down. Life without the possibility of parole is kinda sucky. Still they suffer. I think if I were a criminal I would rather die, than spend the next 65 years behind metal bars locked in a concrete room. Ok, on the other hand. Justice for the one who was taken from you. Justice isnt death. Hey they killed my mom why should they be permitted to live. He took that liberty from her. How can we put a limit on the time a person can live. Yes, maybe they killed someone but what about being the bigger person. We are out for justice, not revenge.

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about 3 years ago

Giggity Giggity Giggity Goo

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about 3 years ago

swag

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over 5 years ago

i think karla saying that no one can take life away but GOD is right you go girl!!!!!

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almost 4 years ago

this is boring dude.

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about 6 years ago

yeah thats right.nobody should do such things like killing ppl and rapping young children. stop what ur doin wrong.

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over 3 years ago

Eighth Amendment

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over 3 years ago

Eighth Amendment

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almost 4 years ago

this is boring dude.

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over 5 years ago

i agree with day even though i am a full christ follower because god doesnt tell those people to do what they did and there is no way of god punishing them if there in a place where there is no way of god being able to punish them

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over 3 years ago

@Jacqueline

A thing that you should bring up that he had a constitutional right not to be searched for they had no good reason to and he refused. You can bring this up to the Supreme Courts.

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over 3 years ago

Wise one, you are right yet you are right as well Kurt. It must be Fair, yet resonable, harsh, yet smart and soft. There are two sides to everything, and in such, to paths to follow and two sides to choose.

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over 3 years ago

jksdnckajsdbncaudfinaudfnvjkdnfvjknjkfnjkdhuygeedsghierughrughlegfsdgsdfgsdfgfghgfjghjfghnfghngfhnghnghnhnghnhnhn

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over 3 years ago

i agree with the Eye For An Eye theory. if you commit a crime, that same crime should be commited towards you so you know how you made other people feel.

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almost 4 years ago

It's simple. Not eye for an eye. Not have none at all. Nor creating hypothetical situations. The death penalty is not cruel or unuasual, most countries have them. Jail time or death, depending on severity of the crime or a warning for first offense

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over 4 years ago

I was held in the Greene CO. Jail in Springfield MO.5 YRS ago on a trespassing propable cause charge, held for 20 hours,I HAVE a SEIZURE DISORDER FROM A SEVERE BRAIN TRAUMA during my 20 hrs they put me in a camera cell untill they said they coudnt handle it anymore and then the reports I have from the Hospital say I had mutible seizures during my stay at the jail and they were injecting me with several types of anti convolsive meds without nowing my medical history after several seizures I was taken by non medical tranport to the ER AND THE REPORT SAYS I WAS DUMPED OFF WITH A SCARP PEICE OF PAPER SHOWING WHAT DRUGS THEY SHOT IN MY ARMS, IS THIS NOT A VIOLATION OF MY RIGHTS I AM A DISABLED MAN AND HAVE BEEN FOR YEARS,ANYBODY KNOW OF A GOOD LAYWER PLEASE HELP

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over 4 years ago

I think that death penalty is a very serious and deeply misunderstood punishment. There are many views on it, and different kinds of opionions. I personaly think that punishing someone with death penalty doesn't change anything, whats the difference if they killed someone we are killing them which makes us murders, who gave us the right to decide how long should a person live. I know that the only person that can change a convicted prisioner is God himself. He has the power to do anything and he has the power to take away a life. I think that there are people that understand that they have made a mistake and they would do anything to change and become a new person. Many times when they sit in prison they change, and become a new person, they hear the word of God, and believe. We don't have the judgement or decision to decide what to do with someones life or when to kill them. All we can do is punish them and send them off to prison. What has happened to people today in the twenty first century? all they care about it how to punish them back, how to prove and show that they deserve it. What about the fact that we are supossed to forgive, remember how Jesus would sit and tell paroboles. Remember how he said if you get hit in cheek, give them your other. Thats hows it suppossed to be, we have to learn to love agian. I know that murder and rape is a major thing and its hard to forgive because that destroys lifes and families but what more important getting into heaven or yourself we considered a murderer for taking a life of someone else even if he is to be blamed. I think we should think about this. And pray.

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almost 5 years ago

First I'd like to remind everyone of the separation of church and state. While I can understand and deeply respect your religious views and beliefs, this is an issue to do with the state therefore should be considered and discussed with awareness of the separation between the two.

As Gandhi said, "An eye for and eye leaves the whole world blind." If we are discussing the cruel and unusual punishment of the death penalty then I think we must keep in mine that executions have a tendency of going horribly wrong, to cause extreme, extensive pain and suffering. In 1985, Stephen Peter Morin had to have both arms probed for forty-five minutes before finding a suitable vein. In 1994, John Wayne Gacy had one of the three lethal drugs become clogged in the tube leading to Gacy's arm, stopping the flow of the lethal drugs. The clogged tube was then replaced with a new one and the execution process began again. An examination later found that this delay was due to the inexperience of the prison officials. In 1999, Allen Lee Davis was hit with 2,300 volts of electricity, blood poured out of Davis's mouth. By the time of his pronounced death, the stain of blood on his shirt was the size of a dinner plate. The Supreme Court found in Kemmeler that: “Punishments are cruel when they involve torture or a lingering death…Something more than the mere extinguishing of a life.”

The 8th amendment was written when the death penalty was common and widely accepted by society. Therefore, the death penalty was not cruel and unusual punishment at the onset of the 8th amendment. If what was considered cruel and unusual remained consistent, it would still be acceptable to put children and the mentally retarded would still be eligible for the death penalty. However, the beauty of the Constitution is that it changes over time, primarily with the interpretation of the Supreme Court.

The evolution in standards of decency should be moved in the direction of narrowing applications of the death penalty, and hopefully to the extinguishment of the death penalty entirely.

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almost 5 years ago

i believe that death penalization in general is a horrible way to punish someone.yes they might of killed someone before but i agree with Monica » spnkymnkey ((at)) yahoo dot com because people like stanley tookie williams was on death row and recieve lethal injection became a changed man while he was locked down.and they still put the man to sleep.its wrong the way the government handle things in prison.prisoners are people too and i believe if you were like a man like tookie then you should be given a second chance.now if you were a rapests on the other hand then that will be a different story.just hearing the word rape make the hairs on the back of my neck stand.the bottom line is people need to look at certain situations just a little deeper!!!

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almost 5 years ago

I believe they should use the death penalty more and why do you need a sterile needle to kill someone that would save some cost recycle reduce and reuse

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almost 5 years ago

Its funny how people forget that they do stupid things also. #1 Children LIVE what they LEARN just to get that out of the way. Now um 2.. Lord forbid your loose it one day and do some crazy mess.. later you will probably regret it & maybe strive to do better no matter what it was. Its not exactly better to just "go ahead and get it over with" just b/c the world is changing around them while they are locked up. Those ppl in there can use the time they have to get it right w/God. You have the choice of goin to hell or heaven. God forgives all sins.. or maybe that doesn't count to some of yall?? Wait.. so its like this right. You are takin your kids, nephews.. or just family somewhere on the road & you happen to get into an accident dat is your fault & you end up killin whoeva it was in the other vehicle. Elderly person, teenager.. etc. You wasn't payin attention.. so i think you should die for takin their life! If you was doin what you should have done it neva would have happened!! So what if it was an accident. There are ppl in prison dat didn't intentionally kill someone. But some of them serve the death sentence. But that probably doesn't matter b/c you maybe sick of your tax money going to those "CRIMINALS" in prison. LOL!! that's hilarious. Idk.. we all mess up still tryin to get it together & no sin is greater than the next. God allowed ppl to kill certain ppl in the Bible so don't be thinkin my/our God is all soft and no discipline, no action. Read thoroughly & get 'Gods' wisdom, knowledge & understanding not ya own.. check out Proverbs. The same way you see how someone is to be treated & judged is exactly how you will be. So pay attention.

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almost 5 years ago

I believe in an eye for an eye. People have the right to be put through what they put others through, in my opinion I would have stiffer punnishments depending on the severity of the crime and yes it costs more to kill someone in prison that it does to keep them in there for years but lets just shoot them and it wouldnt cost so much. I have family in jail right now and I still wouldnt change my views on the subject!!

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about 5 years ago

I think that this amendment is an extremely good thing. Especially when it comes to the death penalty. No matter what you say, it's murder. It's as simple as that. If we are killing them because they killed someone else (etc.) we are becoming just as bad as them.

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about 5 years ago

Actually Day, it costs more for someone to be executed than to keep them in jail for life without parole. Check the death penalty information center. It will give you the amounts. Even though I'm 100% for the death penalty, I still think people should give out accurate information, so please do your research. :]

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about 5 years ago

the idea of chopping off finger for a minor offense is incredibly stupid!Its better to have "them" living in the prisons rather than in our streets! I dont mind paying the extra cash to get them out of the way!

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over 5 years ago

How is it fair for a murderer to live in a prison and recieve free shelter, food, and medical care for the rest of thier life, when there are homeless and low poverty families who do not recieve these benefits and are law abidding citizens. It cost 1 million dollars to house and take care of a life sentence prisoner without parole during thier life time. That is more then it cost to put them to death. Check out the facts then make a decision. Why should you and I pay for a murderer to live free, when they have chosen to commit such awful crimes.

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over 6 years ago

I believe in the death penalty. If you are put just in jail for, let's say 50 years for a crime you committed, would you rather stay there for the next 50 years while the world changes around you, your friends die, and you miss great opportunites, and then come out and find the world has completely changed in your absence, or would you like to be executed and face whatever punishment you will recieve in the life after this quicker that you would have if you waited here? The death penalty is a painless thing. It is done quickly so that it does not violate the eighth amendment. Rarely anyone in the last century has been innocent when convicted, because of DNA testing and because a convicted person has numerous chances to be proven not guilty over the time it takes for the convict to be executed. God gives life and does not like it when we take it, but he has given us the judgement to deal with criminals that he can not while we are here on this earth. He will deal with them appropriately when the time comes.

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over 6 years ago

I do not believe in capital punishment. First of all an "an eye for an eye" will make the whole world blind! Second of all executing a prisoner costs taxpayers about $2 million more than it would to keep them in prison for 50 years. Do some research! Third of all, what if the "crminal" was actually innocent? Nothing is worth killing an innocent life over!

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over 6 years ago

Thank you Shu Shu! Have any of you actually looked up how much money we spend per prisoner per day... Well if not it's around $30,000 dollars a day. So therefor if you ask me i would much rather that type of money be spent on my education or my kids education one day. I dont feel like money i work my butt off for should be allocated to take care of a PRISONER--- A CRIMINAL. They have more rights than the free society and if you dont think so do a lil research on that!

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over 7 years ago

Hello my name is Sadie and I think that the 8th admentment was a very good thing I think that if someone does go through rape before they are 12 years old and they are 11 or 10 or 9 or younger or whatever but like I dont think that is right for someone to rape someone that young plus I think it is justice that they do get on the death penalty no matter what. I think that is the best idea. I mean whatever you do you have to pay for it

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over 1 year ago

kara ;
you do realize that what you're saying is 'ok, let's get revenge because they hurt our family or friends.' Revenge is one of the lowest things that a human can do, it's pathetic and just makes you look like you are STRICTLY thinking with your heart, NOT your brain. YES, if someone killed my family or friends i WOULD want them dead. BUT once i really thought about it, i wouldn't. Because the smart way to win any argument is to state nothing but facts. if you are saying revenge is the way to go, your putting to much emotion into your argument and you WILL loose. so if you really feel that the death penalty is a good punishment, you should do a little bit of research on it and find another reason other than 'revenge'.

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almost 3 years ago

The death penalty cannot be used because people and their ideas are all we have in the world. If someone is sick enough to murder, then that person needs help, not to be killed off. God clearly does not intervene all the time. We need to make just decisions of our own accord, because he is not about to handle it for us.

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almost 3 years ago

Death penalty is a good verdict for a criminal. So that it is good and it just shows how big and unlawful crime a criminal committed. And is the legal thing for having a victim's justice.The current recession has taken a toll on anything, including the amount of death sentences and executions. Legal and ethical issues and costs are among the chief reasons for the decline in the capital punishment. It is not as likely that people will face the death penalty now. (See http://www.newsytype.com/13999-executions-death-sentences/ for more info)

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over 5 years ago

I think we should have the death punishment. People think they can just get away with whatever they want and they'll go to jail. Probably more than half of them don't have a very good life and would probably have a better life in jail, so they're living in paradise and we're paying for them to live that way! Say someone stole something, then they should lose a finger, or if someone killed someone, they should be killed. This isn't just about the death punishment, but it's about every punishment.
The down side to that would be someone who is innocent could be killed if they have no evidence saying it wasn't he/she. In that case, I don't think anyone should have any punishment till farther evidence is found.

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almost 6 years ago

Well Tineeka put the shoe on the other foot. What if it were your family memeber, child, friend whatever and they were murdered. You can honestly say that you wouldn't want justice for the deceased? And I don't mean just locking up the person that decided to murder your loved one in a cell with cable tv that you as a tax payer pay for. I would want that person to suffer just as my loved one did instead of sending them on a permanent vacation. We wonder why there is so much criminal activity in this world? Because most criminals get a slap on the wrists and are still walking our streets or they're in a prison cell with free meals and extracurricular activities. Also you wouldn't see these rich and famous people commiting half the crimes that they get away with if there were a little bit more punishment in this society.

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over 4 years ago

It is overtly obvious that the people responding in opposition to the death penalty have not done any research to understand what a capital crime is. Accidently killing a person is NOT a capital crime and therefore is not punishable by the death penalty. Also, may I remind the religious perspectives that God instructed Abraham to murder his son as a demonstration of his faith. The death penalty, even in light of the botch jobs, is not any more cruel or unusual for humans as it would be for the euthanasia of dangerous animals which cannot be placed in homes or "rehabilitated." What I understand from reading the incompetent posts here, is that it, had Hitler not committed suicide, you would have wanted him to live a life of imprisonment in hopes that someday he might regret his actions. There is no room for dangerous, over-zealous murders on this planet. I personally do not want my tax dollars funding a life of leisure for criminals who lack the capacity or desire of rehabilitation, and I certainly do not want them running around free with my children, or yours for that matter. People who are guilty of capital crimes are rightfully given the death penalty. With all the technology available there is very little room for error, so the idea that wrongful convictions is a possibility is almost incongruous. The real opposition lies in the fact that some criminals can find a rebirth of sorts, which is great for them spiritually, but they still have to pay for the crime they committed. Living under grace does not mean you are exempt from the law. What it means is that God has forgiven you, not that you don’t have to take responsibility for your actions. Do you homework people; saying that "prisoners are people too," is like saying that Satan should not be condemned either. Separation of God and State is neither here nor there in relation to what I am saying. What I am saying is, if you are going to oppose the death penalty, do it with educated facts not your soapbox opinions. And, for the record, you do not get to play the race card here either. Historically, since the 1970’s every year, there are more white males executed than any other race.

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about 6 years ago

Megan, you have just contradicted yourself in your comment, 'God gives life and does not like it when we take it..., you are right in saying that God will judge them rightly when the time comes. However, that time is for God, not the law or the constitution that is written by individuals. Judgment, as stated by yourself is in Gods hands.
By allowing punishment by death we are painting ourselves with the same tainted brush as the convicted person whom we allow to be sentenced, by our state, our laws, to death.

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over 6 years ago

the 8th amendment is rally not that nice to be doin that 2 and the death pentey is not kool at all!!!!!!!!!!

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almost 7 years ago

monica



how can you say that the death penalty is not a good idea because its takes human lives.



most people getting the death penalty have murdered someone



who are they to take someone elses life..you think that we should spare their life when they couldnt spare anothers



i think the death penalty should be used more

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about 3 years ago

swagggggggg:)

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over 1 year ago

NOBODY HAS COMMENTED IN TWO YEARSSS

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about 3 years ago

im all for the death penalty im not saying thaat i agree with every thing it is capable of being sentanced for i just think that if you take a life that we as people have the right to take there life.many people think that God says that no man has the right to take someones life, it does but it also says that if someone murders someone we have the rifgt to take there life. that is what i belive if you take a life you also should be killed thats the only way i agree with the death penalty.

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about 3 years ago

The eighth amendmant is pointless. Who gives somebody the right to kill another human being? if they think they have the right to kill an innocent or not person they should be killed the same way they killed or tortured their victim. Nobody gave any human being to take the life of another. Those who kill should be killed in returned

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over 3 years ago

Your completely right no sin is different from that of another. We are all dirty rotten sinners. Alot of people commit the same crimes, they just don't get caught. God knows are hearts and sees the good in all men. Thats why he gave his son to die for our sins. I believe the prison system is all about money. Yes prisoners are people too, regardless of the crime committed small or large, should be treated with respect.Nobody walks a clean path is this world. Its not our place to judge others. We can't be forgiven of our sins until we forgive others. We never know in our life if we may end up behind bars, or someone we love end up behind bars. So take time to read God's laws before you choose to live by societs laws. So before you think of what kind of justice you think someone deserves think of what kind of justice you deserve for your actions. Our God is the healer.

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almost 6 years ago

Question for everyone, what if it was you, your child or even a family member or close friend that you knew was innocent or it was and accident or self defense? Would you still be for the death penalty? No one has the right to take anyone's life but God!!!!

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about 3 years ago

mathas

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over 3 years ago

To whom it may concern:

I am search of legal information that will explain what ones rights are in setting bail on a Class C felony and how to get this reduced.

This is the issue:
A young man 17, still in high school, B student, soon to be a high school graduate in May 2011.
Please note this is the first time he has been in trouble.

He was driving his mother's truck at which time he had 2 or 3 other kids in his truck. He was pulled over for a u turn he made. The officer asked if he could search the truck the boy said no. Officers searched anyway. The officers (2) I think, said they found a white pill. They took the boys down to the police station to book them. And said that if the pill came back as a narcotic that there would be a warrant issued for his arrest. The officers let the boys go, Two or three weeks later the officers, were out looking for him. This young man was told that they were looking for him so he called the station and told them he would turn himself in the following day. He wanted to go to school the next day (Friday) so he would not miss class. The boy did do just that. The officers then told his mother that he would go straight to the county jail and that no one could contact with him for 7 days. The officer also told the mother that bail was set at $20,000.00. I thought that was a highly excessive bail for one pill especially when that truck was not his and that there had been several family members who have had prescriptions that would probably fit the pills description.

We are told now that bail can not be lowered until the arraignment (which is in 7 days) and may not be lowered even then. Bail is set at 10% and therefore is a a $2,000.00 bond. To hire an attorney is another $1,500.00 minimum. The mother is already having to borrow money for the attorney. And has NO money to bail this kid out.

This arrest is in a small community where most of the citizens are lower income people, including this kid and his family.

This kid stands to lose his job and the possibility of not being able to catch up his schooling in order to graduate this May 2011. Plus, if he is convicted of this he will not be able to attend the college as he had planned. Nor will he get any grant or loan money from the federal government because of being convicted of a felony.

I know our law states that we are innocent before proven guilty but when our system robs us of our monies and takes away our livelihoods before we even have a chance to defend our selves it then seems cruel.

Why on earth can't they let the boy out on his recog? Afterall, it was two weeks or more since they had pulled him over? If they thought he was a flight risk why didn't they do something then. Plus, this is a small enough community they could have researched a little to find out the boy WOULD NOT be a flight risk and realize that he has too much to lose to even be a flight risk.

Also, is there a law or right that allows a person who is arrested of a Class C felony (the one prescription pill only) to be in the presence of the prosecuter and judge when they are setting the original bail. No one even discussed this with the boy. I am not even sure they are suppose to allow him that opportunity. It just does not seem right.

In our town the arrested go directly to the county jail as there is no jail in the city jail system. He is there now as of Friday and we would like to get him out by Monday or Tuesday in hopes that he doesn't miss too much school or lose his job.

Any help or direction that you may be able to share would be much appreciated.

Respectfully.

Jacqueline

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over 6 years ago

in the book of Genesis it states that God created us in the image of himself so when we kill we are killing him. i strongly disagree with the death sentencings here whether its the victim that was killed or the criminal that was put on death row....anyway you put it KILLING IS WRONG...!

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over 6 years ago

The eight amendment totally ownes all others. Without this amendment police could publicaly humiliate everyone without any reason or remorse

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about 3 years ago

truuu

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over 5 years ago

If one person kills another that person deserves to die. The question is does the victim or criminal believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for their sins and then rise again on the 3rd day. Cause if they believe that then niether of them should be afraid of death because they will go to Heaven.

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over 6 years ago

Here's a question for you that was presented as a research topic for my Masters class... Does the 'Cruel and Unusual Punishment' clause of the Eighth Amendment bar the imposition of the Death Penalty on Juveniles?



This has a lot of issues on both sides. So many circumstances to take into consideration for this to be a flat yes or no. IMO.

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almost 7 years ago

i think that we should have cruel and unusual punishment. an eye for an eye, an ear for an ear, a tooth for a tooth. that is how it should be

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almost 2 years ago

maybe "god" (if he exists) wanted the murderer to die like that... ever think of that kayla?!

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almost 4 years ago

y7